We have all heard the talk about putting Fun in Rotary. Many clubs look for activities that keep their members engaged socially or add a twist to meetings to bring out the laughter. Let me tell you that for decades the FUN in Rotary has been alive and well in a group of energetic, creative, slightly batty, highly irreverent exhibitionists called Rotary curlers.
Every year District 5370 and its partner District 5360 get together and host a District Bonspiel. Did you know that these two Districts used to be one? The District Governor had just over 60 clubs to visit in an area that stretched the length of our district and extended all the way south to the Alberta/ USA border. No cell phones, no email, no SKYPE, just snail mail and open roads.
When Rotary International decided to split us into two districts, a pact was made to continue the long held tradition of the District bonspiel that included both districts. Each year the bonspiel is hosted by either the north or the south. Any community can bid on it, all you need is a few sheets of ice, and a sense of adventure to welcome the friendliest people in Rotary!
Most of you know what curling is. I suspect many of you have seen a few highlight reels of our exceptional curling representatives at the national or world level. That is not Rotary curling. Not to say that we didn’t see some great shot making and strategy but the focus is different.
Rotary curling is a true Fellowship. It brings together men and women from all walks of life, from different parts of our geographically immense district, and for one weekend there is intense camaraderie, side splitting laughter, renewed friendships, and the good natured competition of curling. Rocks are thrown, drinks are passed ’round, and it’s handshakes at the end of the day.
An avid curler himself, Tim told his fellow participants that this is the best Rotary Fellowship he has had the pleasure of participating in. He was thrilled to be invited to curl with Rotarians of the Stony Plain club and only hoped he wouldn’t disgrace their team. This from the guy who has his name on the A event and B event trophies and has curled since high school.
Our host club, the Rotary Club of Vermilion, put on a great show. We stayed in clean friendly hotels and the ice at the Vermilion curling club was exceptional. We were welcomed whole heartedly by the community. Several restaurants generously sponsored the bonspiel and were thrilled when we would all roll up to spend money in their establishments. Boston Pizza donated our lunch on Friday with unlimited pizza and salad. It was a true testament to the service this Vermilion club provides for its community that so many are excited to give back when they can.
While the focus is on curling and competing in the main events, there is also alot of opportunity for fellowship. The bar is always open, with drinks that include something for everyone including the designated driver, and the tables are always full of friends. Throughout the weekend it did not matter where I sat, I was amongst friends…some I hadn’t even met yet.
Vermilion Rotary hosted two wonderful evenings of entertainment and fine dining. Friday night was chili and Karaoke and Saturday was a delicious dinner and hypnotist. As you might imagine, the entertainment was provided by the Rotarians themselves and they did not disappoint. One fellow remarked that his abs and cheeks were so sore from laughing. Isn’t that the best medicine!?
This weekend Tim and I are excited to attend the Rotary World Curling championships hosted in Grande Prairie. That’s right….Worlds! Winner of the A event is eligible to represent Team Canada at the Rotary Worlds. We couldn’t be more proud of our curling friends and we are looking forward to enjoying more laughter and friendship with Rotarians from far and away. Maybe even watch a bit of curling while we’re at it! Come Join Us!