by Pam Chamberlain
When Sarah was 14, her dad, an avid curler, enrolled her in the junior program in her hometown of Rocky Mountain House. “I loved it,” Sarah recalls. Before long, she was curling in an adult league twice a week. “The adults’ willingness to take on a young player, despite the fact that I struggled, encouraged me to continue to play and to improve my skills.”
When it was time to attend university, Sarah again followed the lead of her father, who had attended CLC in the 70s on his way to a teaching career.
Sarah curled for the Vikings, taking on the role of skip of the women’s rink in her third and fourth years and leading the team to a silver medal at the ACAC provincials. “Being on a team with those three women was incredible. What a privilege!” Sarah reflects. “Roger Galenza was a fantastic coach, an amazing mentor, and is still a friend. In fact, my best friends today are people from Augustana.”
Sarah is the program coordinator and head coach at the Sherwood Park Curling Club. While many curling clubs are dwindling these days, the Sherwood Park club is so busy that, as Sarah says, they have to “squeeze to make room for everyone.” Over 100 athletes are enrolled in weekly programs, and 3000 school kids come through the club each season to learn to curl.
“At Augustana, I had many opportunities to work with children,” Sarah remembers, “and it was there that I realized that I wanted a career working with kids. Many skills I learned at Augustana are valuable now in my work—like organizational and time management skills. And interpersonal skills, with both children and adults, are a significant part of my role.”
Heather Nedohin, a national-level curler, heads the Sherwood Park club. Sarah says, “I am honoured that Heather thought I would be a good addition to this staff. She and I have a dynamic partnership.” The pair travels to communities like Smoky Lake, Warburg, and Vermilion to share the keys to success in their program.
As if work doesn’t keep her busy enough, Sarah also curls in two leagues. She still curls with her three Augustana teammates—now at the Avonair Curling Club in Edmonton—and she recently competed at the provincial level.
Sarah’s goal is to continue to play competitively: “I’d love to end up at the Scotties or the Worlds one day.” Above all, she simply enjoys the sport itself. “My favourite thing about curling is the people I meet,” she reflects. “The game is wonderful, but socialization is really what it is all about. Win or lose, I’ve met the most incredible people in a curling rink.”
This year, the CCAA Curling National Championships take place at the 100 year old Rose City Curling Club from March 22 to 25, 2017. Tickets are available at the gate or in advance at the Augustana Fitness Centre. Ticket prices are free for ages 12 and under and $10 per draw or $40 for a championship pass for ages 13 and over. Curlers and their fans are invited to stay at the host hotel, the Norseman Inn.