Grand Falls-Windsor, NL – There were surprise visitors at the Exploits Regional Curling Club last week.
Grand Falls-Windsor native Andrew Taylor will compete with Team NL at the Tim Hortons Brier starting Saturday, March 3; however, he first made a stop to his old stomping grounds, along with skip Greg Smith.
“I knew Joe Tremblett still ran it, and he used to coach me, so wanted to see Joe while I was home,” Taylor said, adding Tremblett and Charlie Fennimore were both heavily involved when he was in the program starting at age 11.
Smith was coaching the under-15 provincials and was on his way back to St. John’s.
“He decided to stop in to Grand Falls and come over to the curling club with me,” Taylor said. “It was pretty cool. I didn’t think I was going to get a chance to get out there. After the program was done me and Greg stayed out for a couple extra minutes and we were practicing ourselves.”
Sharing the experience
Tremblett was overwhelmed by the visit, though not surprised, he said, as Taylor was a “good young fellow” all the way through the program.
“Being part of seeing him when he was 11 and now, it really makes you proud,” Tremblett said.
He said it was amazing for two members of the provincial team to go to the curling club and help out the junior curlers, adding they were both great with the children.
“It was the best, especially since Andrew was part of the program before,” Tremblett said.
He said it’s obvious they enjoy what they are doing, and it was special for them to take what they learned along the way and pass it on.
“To me that’s what it’s all about, going back and sharing your experience,” Tremblett said. “He never forgot where he came from. For Andrew to be living in St. John’s, and win it, and come back home and want to share the experience with the younger kids, that was just absolutely amazing.
“You’ll carry it with you the rest of your life. I’ll carry it with me. I haven’t stopped talking about it since.”
Ten-year-old Sarah Mayne will always remember the experience as well.
“I was very surprised,” she said. “It was really fun. They taught us how to come out to the hack a little better, how to line up to get the rock to curl.”
This is Sarah’s third season curling, but she’s been at the rink since she was a toddler.
“When I was little I always used to watch mom and dad curl and I thought that I would like it,” Sarah said.
At four years old she was going to the rink watching her parents, Susan and Brian. Every year she would ask to curl. When she was finally old enough she was there with bells and whistles ready to go.
“I like that it’s different,” she said, adding she has big plans in the sport. “I’m going to go to the Scotties.”
She said she will be cheering on Taylor, Smith and the team at the Brier.
“I think it’s going to be really cool,” Sarah said.
The junior curling program in Grand Falls-Windsor runs for an hour starting at 2 p.m. on Sundays, and children ages seven and up are welcome.
Registration numbers were a little lower this year, with hopes they bounce back next year.
“It’s a good little program,” Tremblett said. “It gets them into team sports and they are able to intermingle with one another. There’s no seriousness out there, it’s strictly fun, and encourages everybody.”
The program finishes this weekend but will start back up in the fall, usually running from November to March. Children are able to try it out before committing.
Anyone interested can stop by the club when the program is running and get more information.