The Swift Current Curling Club's afternoon league will celebrate a successful season when the curlers have their wind up next week.
The second half of the afternoon league's season will conclude with a wind up for the Monday afternoon curlers on March 18 and the Thursday afternoon curlers will conclude their season on March 21.
On both days the teams will play four ends before a break for some drinks and snacks, and then they will play another four ends. Their afternoon will conclude with a social and a potluck. The curlers have a similar event when the league concludes the first half of the season for their Christmas break, and it is enjoyed by everyone.
According to league coordinator Don Reimer the curlers had a successful season. Participating teams curl on Monday and Thursday afternoons, and there is also a drop-in league on Wednesday afternoons, which helps to recruit curlers for the other two days.
“All the way around it's been very good,” he said about the season. “We have a lot of the same people back all the time plus new ones all the time that are moving into Swift Current, a lot of farmers that move in. We have a lot of them coming in to curl and they're getting on teams and that's why Wednesdays are so important, because they come out and then we ask them if they want to spare and they get on teams that way when we put them on the spare list.”
He has been coordinating this league for about 15 years. There was originally a men's and women's league, but it is now a mixed league.
“It's not all mixed,” he said. “We don't require you to have one women on or one guy on each team. Some have all women and some have all men.”
League participation on each afternoon is fairly consistent with nine teams on Mondays and 12 teams on Thursdays.
“The Monday with the nine teams are with a bye, but with the bye it kind of works out alright because you always need spares,” he said. “So most of the time the people who get a bye get to curl anyway.”
The number of curlers for the Wednesday afternoon drop-in league will vary, but there are sometimes up to to 12 people.
“We just throw the teams together,” he noted. “I draw up the teams. It's a couple of teams usually, and the most is about three or four teams, but I'd like to push the Wednesday afternoon drop-in league. I wasn't going to do it this year, but they have to get the ice ready for the high school kids anyways. So it wasn't any more money to have the drop-in league and it is a feeder system for our Mondays and Thursdays. So it's very important.”
Reimer mentioned that the afternoon league is important to sustain the Swift Current Curling Club, because these curlers represent about 20 per cent of the club and they contribute in various ways. Curlers from the afternoon league are on the board and they do a lot of the volunteer work at events.
For the curlers who participate in the afternoon league it is a way to remain physically and socially active, because there is a social event in the upstairs lounge after each afternoon's games.
Marilyn Sawatzky joined the afternoon league last winter after moving to Swift Current from Herbert and she is now a regular participant.
“I'm actually a curler of many years,” she said. “I've always enjoyed it. It's a very good winter activity, being in the prairies. It's accessible, because most communities do have a curling rink and activities going. It's a huge benefit for health, and it's a participant sport. So you're exercising, and it's a really fun thing, because you're having social time with other people playing the same sport.”
She does not curl as a member of a specific team, and prefers to be a spare. She initially curled on Wednesday afternoons, but she will now often curl on all three days, depending on the need for curlers on a given day.
“For me what has worked well is being a spare and coming out for Wednesday afternoons for just a pick up team, and now as I'm getting familiar with the players and the league I'm getting more and more involved,” she said.
There is a relaxed atmosphere in the afternoon league. Curlers enjoy their games and also to socialize with others before and after the start of games.
“A lot of players have played for a while,” she said. “Some maybe haven't played and have come back to the game. So it's a real mix of skill set, but for the most part we're there to have fun. We enjoy making the shot and having the challenge, but on the whole it's just a good afternoon of activity with fellow curlers.”
For more information about the afternoon league, contact Reimer or the Swift Current Curling Club. Registration for next season's afternoon league will take place in the fall at the City of Swift Current's city-wide registration event for fall and winter activities.