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Curling Day in Canada

Curling as an inclusive sport

Shirley Henry

January 22, 2021

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Curling is such an amazing Canadian winter sport as it promotes a source of recreation, competition, friendship and most importantly inclusion. There is a diverse field of members, from Little Rocks to Masters to inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Every year we celebrate a World Curling Championship just like we celebrate our son who was born 37 years ago with Down syndrome. March 21st every year is World Down Syndrome Day. Everyone is encouraged on that day to wear mismatched socks in order to raise awareness, encourage people to start conversations about diversity, uniqueness, inclusion and acceptance.

.At one International curling competition held on March 21st the Women’s curling team from Sweden, Anna Hasselborg, posted a picture on Social media of their team on the ice with their pant legs pulled up to show off their mismatched socks in support of inclusion and celebration of this special day. We come from a family of curlers so when my husband saw the post, he reached out to the team sharing a curling story of our son Jonathan.

Jonathan is a part of Special Olympics New Brunswick. He decided he would join the curling program. At a Special Olympics curling bonspiel at our club in Moncton Jonathan was skipping the team. When we arrived at the rink to watch him there were 3 rocks left in the end. His team was laying 6. Jonathan drew into the house with his first rock. All the rocks were clustered on one side of the house. The opposing skip missed his last rock so Jonathan had a draw for 8. The team was very relaxed, not even realizing what was happening. The parents behind the glass were very nervous and on the edge of their seats.

Jonathan threw his last rock to the open side of the house, using no rocks for backing. This increased the tension amongst the parents. His two sweepers swept his rock hard to take it into the house. The crowd went crazy, jumping up and down. His Dad went running out into the ice shed telling the curlers not to move the rocks so he could photograph the moment. The curlers looked a little bewildered not recognizing their accomplishment.

Anna loved the story so when they got back to Sweden they sent Jonathan an autographed team shirt. Jonathan wore that shirt proudly to a Grand Slam Curling event held in Pictou County where he had the opportunity to meet the team. We captured the moment in a photograph.
Jonathan has met several curlers over the years at the Scotties and Briers held in the Maritimes.

He loves the sport of curling and would love the chance to be included as a spectator at the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier. He is a very enthusiastic fan.