The first draw of the Mitchell Curling Club went off without a hitch, but the second is very much up in the air at the moment.
Thirty-two curlers participated in the opening draw, which concluded Dec. 10, including some out-of-town players who had their club not operate due to COVID-19 regulations. Mitchell debated about proceeding with new rules but pushed forward, seeing the outing as a viable outlet for many people.
With the current provincial lockdown in effect until at least Jan. 23, Curling Club President Shirley Verhoeve said their Christmas break will just be a little longer than usual, as they hope to start the second draw the beginning of February. Originally, in a perfect world, their second draw would have started Jan. 7.
“I thought the first draw went really well,” she said, adding they kept couples and relatives together to limit potential exposure.
Like other users at the Mitchell & District Arena, participants couldn’t arrive at the arena until 15-minutes before the scheduled start time, and were to come dressed for curling other than your shoes. Once the action was done, everyone had to leave within a 15-minute span as well.
Masks must be worn entering and exiting the facility, but once on the ice it’s your choice whether you continue to wear one during play. Some did and some didn’t, Verhoeve noted, and was a decision everyone respected. Social distancing was also in effect and everyone abided by that.
Curling rules were essentially kept the same except just one sweeper was allowed on all delivered stones, so participants took turns to spread out that fun element. Also, only one person was allowed in the curling house at any time and the other team was not allowed to sweep rocks out.
At the beginning of each game, players selected their two stones and there was no interchanging during it. The skip or vice of non-delivering team was also instructed to stand at the back until the other team is finished playing, limiting strategy (if there is any, that is).
“We had old and young come out to curl,” Verhoeve said, saying the socializing curling is known for was a little curtailed but under the circumstances, was understandable.
“It was nice to have something to look forward to each week.”