Little Rocks – the next edition

Team Hennigar - all younger siblings ofcurlers at the Truro Club.

Team Hennigar – all younger siblings of curlers at the Truro Club, with coach Chuck Patriquin.

Following in their siblings' footsteps...

Following in their siblings’ footsteps…

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!

Olivia and Chuck, coaching

Olivia and Chuck, coaching during the first game.

IMG_1508

Love the conversation happening on the ice. The little girl in the foreground had some tears in this game, but eventually came around. She swept for us or for her own team; it didn’t matter. Near the end of this game, she and another little one on her team didn’t sweep at all, because they were standing at the end of the ice with their brooms in the air.

IMG_1516

Girls’ night at Aunt Erin’s!

IMG_1519

Little Rocks – Where the brooms are taller than the players! 😉

The officials are out on the ice at every game, giving pointers, and stopping the game to teach rules. In this case, the other team threw our rock by mistake. They are learning that they should have let it play, and replaced it when it came to rest.

The officials are out on the ice at every game, giving pointers, and stopping the game to teach rules. In this case, the other team threw our rock by mistake. They are learning that they should have let it play, and replaced it when it came to rest.

IMG_1555

Olivia gets a tutorial from her teammate before she throws.

Sarah's rock

Sarah sweeping

IMG_1563

Exhausted after an eventful weekend!

And just for fun…

Evan & Alex with teammates Madison & Lindsey, and coach Todd at their first Little Rocks, four years ago.

Evan & Alex with teammates Madison & Lindsey, and coach Todd at their first Little Rocks, four years ago.

One step closer…

If you have followed our blog for any length of time, you know that our two sons are involved in curling and have a goal of being Team Nova Scotia at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, BC. This time, Nova Scotia is choosing their representative through a different process than they have in the past. Rather than sending that year’s provincial champion (winner of a bonspiel), the representative team is being chosen after completing a three year process. We became involved two years ago and since then, our team (Team Spinney) has played at a number of Canada Games bonspiels and has participated in multiple training camp weekends where not only do they get on the ice, but also participate in dryland training, nutrition seminars, and sports psychology sessions.

When the process started, there were approximately 15 boys’ teams  and twelve girls’ teams, each competing against one another, with players at varying skill levels. Each athlete has to have been born no earlier than January 1, 1997, so they are still a relatively young group. There have been three qualifying bonspiels; two last spring which offered four spots, and one this weekend, offering the final two spots. This weekend’s bonspiel in Antigonish was double knockout (which meant if you lost two games you went home) and the pressure was high. Different teams have reconfigured during the process, and the level of play has improved immensely. This weekend, our boys were on their game, held up under the pressure, and earned the final spot.

Phew.

One difficult thing about curling is that there has to be a winner and a loser in each game. Each win in a bonspiel like this is bittersweet when you know you’ve knocked out another team that you like and respect. That happened to us twice during the weekend. Everybody is striving toward the same goal and the stakes are high, so wins are more subdued and the parents are much quieter.

Moving forward, the six qualifying teams will play together at three different bonspiels this winter and it is our understanding that the team with the best performance at the three bonspiels will be chosen as Team Nova Scotia in March. There is also an opportunity for the second ranked team to attend the Optimist International Under 18 Curling Championships in Langley, BC.

Drew, Evan, Alex & Adam have worked very hard to get this far. They generally curl six days each week, help out with the pre-juniors, and curl in the adult recreational league some evenings. They cross-train by mountain biking together once each week in the nicer weather, run, and attend fitness & yoga sessions with their sponsor, MacKinnon Fitness and Breathing Space Yoga Studio.

We are so proud of their accomplishments and wish them well as they continue to work together toward achieving their goal!

Team Spinney with Coach Chuck Dyke after qualifying to continue in the 2015 Canada Games Process.

Team Spinney with Coach Chuck Dyke after qualifying to continue in the 2015 Canada Games Process.

Team Spinney (our boys) in action at the 1st Canada Winter Games Curling Qualifier. (Video)

We made it home from the bonspiel in Yarmouth last night, despite the miserable weather and snow-covered roads. What should have been a four hour drive took about six. Who’s bright idea was it to encourage our kids to play winter sports in Canada, anyway?! Although we were disappointed the boys didn’t qualify in this tournament (they recognize they didn’t play their best among tough competition), they will still have another chance to qualify for the 2015 Canada Winter Games in March at another qualifier in Halifax. Of the 28 teams who have been participating in the process since last year, two boys teams and two girls teams were chosen to move through to next year. Next year’s group will go from 28 to just six boys teams and six girls teams. Once through the process, Team Nova Scotia will be chosen at the end of next season.

All-in-all, it was a great weekend with lots of team bonding time; the games they lost were only by one point each, (and one was in an extra end), so it was really great curling. On Saturday, after their first loss, they were asked to participate in a short video about the weekend. If you’d like to see our boys in action, here is the link:

Team Spinney in Action at the 1st Canada Winter Games Curling Qualifier

There was also a newspaper article with a photo

We’ll be “hurrying hard” at practice between now and March!

 

Nova Scotia Webcams – Cape Forchu Lighthouse

Check out Team Spinney at Cape Forchu Lighthouse in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, this afternoon! They are here participating in the first 2015 Canada Winter Games Qualifier. There are 24 teams hoping to represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Games in Curling. This tournament is double knockout, with the top two teams moving forward to next year. They won their game last night and lost this morning’s game. It was a nail biter and came down to the final end. We took advantage of the beautiful afternoon to explore Yarmouth a bit and even made it on to Nova Scotia Webcams!

Cape Forchu

Here’s a look at the actual photos:

atlantic

The ocean was beautiful this afternoon!

chilly evan

The wind was pretty strong (and chilly) off the water.

mom and boys

Mom & boys!

spinney forchu

Team Spinney at Forchu lighthouse in Yarmouth!

Regardless of the result, we’re having a great time!!

Curling fun

Our boys have been curling for a number of years now. They are on a team that are practicing with a goal to represent Nova Scotia in the 2015 Canada Games in Prince George, British Columbia. The girls have been dragged from club to club over the years, watching their brothers practice and compete while D’Arcy & I belong to a fun league on Mondays.

Last Monday, Evan joined our team to play as a “spare” for Jean-Claude – our normal team mate, who was away on business.

Our kids on the ice on the final day of curling last year. After the bonspeil was over, they were allowed to put on skates and have a different kind of fun!

This Friday, it was finally the girls’ turn to get on the ice and slide. I think we have some more curlers on our hands!!

Sarah & Olivia were so excited to get on to the ice!

Sarah stretches and Olivia slides…

Experience of a lifetime!

Coming down from Olympic withdrawal has been difficult this week.  While we normally don’t watch a lot of sports (although D’Arcy follows many), while the Olympics are on, we are glued to the coverage.  This week, the Tim Horton Brier (Curling) is on in Halifax and we learned that Kevin Martin and Team Canada would be there, signing autographs and taking photos with their Olympic Gold Medals!  Our sons both are curlers, so we took them out of school for the day, along with the two girls on their team and headed to Halifax.  (One hour drive.)

It was so worth the trip!  We got to meet them all and they were so kind!  They were interested in the team and talked to them about curling and the fact that they have their first tournament (together) over our March Break.  They were so gracious and exemplified all the qualities you would expect in curlers.  Our son Evan took a biography he’d written about Kevin Martin and got him to sign that!  Kevin read it carefully and smiled at the photo Evan had drawn of him on the podium next to Team Howard at the Olympic Trials.  I’m not sure that Team Howard, who are also at the Brier, would have found it so cute!  The kids got noticed by the television crews and were interviewed both for the news and by the Canadian Curling Association.  How exciting!

Our nephew, Christopher, is a curler and curled with Team Fitzner-LeBlanc (Team Nova Scotia) until he moved to Calgary last year.  They started curling together when they were just seven years old, younger than our boys are!  I think it’s hard for Chris not to be here with them at The Brier!  We ran into his mother Kim, and sat with her watching the “Hot Shots” skills competition.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay for the entire thing, because we had to get back to Truro for Curling Practice but we were pleased to learn that Ian, skip of Team Nova Scotia, won third place overall!  Yay Ian!!

While we were watching the first group, we noticed that Team Gushue (Newfoundland) were sitting behind us.  For those non-curlers out there, they are the team who won the gold medal at the 2006 Olympics!  I took the kids over to get their autograph and to wish them well.  While the team was talking with them, one asked who they were rooting for.  Madison declared “PEI!” while our boys stated, “Nova Scotia”.  Team Gushue all laughed and said, “Well no autographs for you then!” The kids were sheepish when they realized what they had done and wished them well!  We all had a good laugh!

Here are a few photos from the day:

An Olympic Gold Medal!

Getting autographs!

Kevin Martin's autograph on Evan's paper

Part of Evan's project

Johnny Mo insisted that they hold the gold medal for the photo - it wasn't hard to convince them!

Kevin Martin leaned in to Evan and said, "Your mom's hands are shaking!" I think Madison's mom got a better one!

Getting miked for their television interview

Our sister-in-law Kim with Marc Kennedy & his gold medal!

"Pebbling the ice" so the stones will curl

"Rocking the ice" to get it used to the curling stones

Team Howard

Brad Gushue, Skip of Team Newfoundland

Team Fitzner-Leblanc (Nova Scotia!) warming up

Our team, taking photos of some of their heroes before going home to their own practice!

Winter fun!

I love this time of year!  There are so many fun outdoor activities to choose from and this weekend’s weather looks like it will be just about perfect:  Sunny skies and forecasted temperatures of -5*C.

We are lucky, living in Central Nova Scotia, to be surrounded by fantastic spots to spend a winter’s day.  Victoria Park, right here in Truro is a 1000 acre wonderland, perfect for hiking or cross-country skiing.  We are always pleased to have a cozy fire for our guests to cozy up in front of after spending the day at the park!

Sugar Moon Farm,   just a 30 minute drive from The Belgravia, is an award-winning year-round Maple Syrup Farm.  They offer tours of the facilities and also have wonderful trail through the Sugar Woods to hike, ski or snowshoe.  There are weekend sleigh rides and they even rent snowshoes!  Each month has its own “Chef’s Night” featuring some of Nova Scotia’s finest culinary talents.  Next month, February, in honor of Valentine’s Day, they are offering this culinary treat twice – Friday, February 5th and Friday, February 12th. We have had many guests over the years who have stayed with us and then gone to Sugar Moon for the chef’s night and they always come back raving about the experience – it’s even more fun when you bring along some friends and stay with us!

When I was growing up here in Truro, I would spend every weekend (and day off school!) at Ski Wentworth which boasts some of the most varied and challenging terrain in the Maritimes.   Click HERE for photos of fun times at Ski Wentworth.  We’ve put together a package of winter fun, enabling you to hit the slopes by day and relax by one of The Belgravia’s warm fires by night. Discover the snowy playgrounds of Cumberland County. This action packed weekend ($274.95 + HST per couple) includes:

  • 2 Nights of Rest and Relaxing Accommodation
  • 2 Healthy Gourmet Breakfasts for Two
  • 2 All-day lift tickets for Ski Wentworth
  • Nova Scotia Delicacies in front of the fireplace after your day of winter adventuring

This weekend, I’ll be running the B&B mostly on my own while D’Arcy participates in a Curling Tournament at the Truro Curling Club with a group of other teachers. I suspect that with the exception of two basketball games, most of my weekend will take place outside on D’Arcy’s pride & joy our own skating rink.  When you come to stay, be sure to bring your skates for a trip around the Belgravia’s 28′ x 45′ outdoor rink, complete with benches & chiminea!

To book your reservations with us to stay one night or to enjoy one of our packages, please call us toll-free (866) 877-9900 or send us an email: belgravia @ eastlink.ca

We still have tables left for each evening of our Valentine’s Dinner with Chef Daniel Creelman.

For more information on our Bed & Breakfast, we invite you to explore our website: www.belgravia.ca