Curling Club members appreciate family atmosphere
Caroline Collins | Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Curling is traditionally known as an Olympic sport, but it is also a club sport offered to students at Notre Dame. The Notre Dame Curling Club was founded in 2016, and since then, it has grown under the coaching staff of Dean and Melanie Palmer.
The Palmers grew up in Canada and have been involved with the sport since they were young. They were members of the previous RecSports curling league before the creation of the curling club, and they wanted to be involved with the club in a teaching capacity to help it get up-and-running again.
“I love sharing my experiences and seeing people improve,” Dean Palmer said. “It’s been really fun working with the students, they’ve been really excited to learn, so hopefully we can continue to grow the program over the next few years.”
Similar to shuffleboard, curling is a sport in which players slide a large circular rock, called a stone, across the ice. Other team members then “sweep” the stone to try and hit a target, senior Alexis Moskala explained.
The Notre Dame Curling Club attends tournaments hosted by other college curling clubs. At these tournaments, called bonspiels, clubs get points for participating in and winning matches. These points are totaled, and the 16 teams with the most points are eligible to attend a national tournament. The Curling Club hopes to qualify for nationals, which will be held in Fargo, North Dakota in March 2022, club president Quinn Bardwell said.
While some of the more experienced club members compete at bonspiels, newer members are encouraged to attend practices and learn the basics. Moskala joined the curling club this year after her friends on the team encouraged her to try it out.
“I decided to join because it wasn’t something that I could do outside of college, and this is my senior year so I wanted to get to know what curling is all about,” Moskala said.
Senior Matthew Misch is a third-year member and treasurer of the club. His favorite thing about curling is being able to meet different people from all around the country and bond with those on his team.
”It’s a very family-oriented sport and everyone is really friendly and nice,” Misch said.
Team members agree that the sport creates a strong sense of community.
“Curling is a very social sport and we make a lot of good friends playing,” Dean Palmer said. “It’s something that’s a lifelong passion for a lot of people, and it’s a sport you can play from the time you’re very young until you’re in your 70s or 80s.”
Many people are open to joining the curling club because it is a fairly low commitment club that allows students to choose their own level of competition, Misch said.
“Our goal is to get the club in a spot where it can continue to grow and make sure that it doesn’t die out like some other clubs do,” he added.
The club practices once a week at Compton Ice Arena and is open to anyone who wants to learn about curling and get involved with the sport.
“We’re willing and able to teach anybody from scratch, and we encourage people if they’re interested to come out and give it a try,” Dean Palmer said.