After dropping D’Arcy & Alex off at the airport for their adventure in Brazil, we got ourselves geared up for the girls’ first Little Rocks Curling Bonspiel. The girls have been at many of the clubs around the province, watching their brothers over the years, but have never been in a competition themselves before. (For Olivia, the first draw was her first-ever game, but I’ll get to that in a minute…)
The girls started curling in “Little Rocks” at the Truro Curling Club last year and loved it. The rocks are the same size as regular curling rocks, but only half the weight. At practice, they learn some of the rules of the game, how to slide, and some of the etiquette that goes along with the sport.Unfortunately, part way through this year, practice had to change from Fridays to Thursdays to accommodate the coaches’ schedules, but our girls dance ballet & jazz on Thursdays. They were disappointed, but stopped attending to continue with dance.
We heard that the club’s team was looking for another player for the Under 11 Provincial Bonspiel being held in Halifax and Sarah was quick to volunteer. This upset Olivia, wondering why she didn’t get to be on the team since her brothers play on the same team, therefore the two sisters should as well… As luck would have it (?!) one the boys on the team was also involved in hockey the same weekend, so Olivia joined the team as a 5th – just in case. The past two Sundays, D’Arcy has taken the girls to the Truro club and practiced with them and make sure they could get the rock from one end of the ice to the other.
We made arrangements to stay with Aunt Erin, packed our gear, and headed for Halifax. Sarah has had an awful cough, so I was worried she would be too sick to play. She & Olivia arranged to switch off and play every other game. They were so proud of themselves!! All 23 teams were piped in to the ice shed during Opening Ceremonies, and Team Fay (Nova Scotian Bronze Medalists at the National Juniors and Team Nova Scotia for the 2015 Canada Winter Games) threw a ceremonial rock through the “honour guard” of curlers.
I wish that I had appreciated at Evan & Alex’s first Little Rocks experience just how adorable this bonspiel is: it takes almost as much luck as it does skill to win a game, there’s not much hurrying happening, and sweeping? Let’s just say the ice was well dusted – when the sweepers were paying attention! There are lots of falls, a few tears (not from any of ours), and lots of smiles. I love seeing the kids shake hands both before and after the game, and love watching them interact with the other teams.
As exciting as it was for them to win their games, the teamwork and sportsmanship I watched was what made my heart burst. Before Olivia’s first game, she worried about how she would know when it was her turn to throw? Evan H. (8) piped up, “I’m the second, so I’ll make sure to tell you!” He or Sage gave her a mini-tutorial before each shot to make sure she was throwing the right turn and knew what shot she was making. So cute!
Sarah came off the ice after one game they played particularly well. I high-fived her and told her what a great game it was and how proud of her I was. She cuddled up to me, looked up and asked quietly, “Mom, but did we win?” She wasn’t quite sure. (They had!)
Each child on the team is a younger sibling of kids who curl with the boys, so although they had never played one another, they knew each other well enough to be close on the ice and have fun together. Aiden was going back and forth from curling to hockey, and cut it close enough on Sunday that the girls got to play a game together. By the end of their first five games, they had won three and lost two. They were second in their division which meant they made it to the “Red Division” playoffs and were guaranteed two games on Monday!! We were in shock! I contacted work to ask to take a vacation day, and we spent a second night at Aunt Erin’s. Evan had gone home on Saturday night with my parents so that he could attend his own Podium Project curling practice on Sunday afternoon, so I made arrangements for him to get a drive to the city on Monday with the girls’ coach, Chuck. I love that he was anxious and willing to come cheer his sisters on!
The girls had lots of family support, despite the fact D’Arcy & Alex were away. Both of my parents came to two games, Aunt Erin & Grandma McDonah came to a game, and Aunt Shannon & Uncle Camille came to a game. The best was when, on their final game on Monday, Alex watched the entire game via FaceTime from Brazil! Oh, technology!
I absolutely love how our children support one another!
In the end, Team Hennigar lost both games on Monday and were out. Unfortunately, we learned at lunchtime that Sage was sick, so the girls played their final game together. Sarah even got to hold the broom for skip stones so Evan H could sweep. It was a positive experience for both of them and they are keen to participate again next year. At this age, when they have fun, that’s what counts!
And just for fun…