19th Annual Rosthern Senior's Bonspiel

As the winter winds down, winter activities are also beginning to wrap things up for another season and that means many curling rinks will be busy with bonspiels. The Rosthern Curling Club will be the site for a three day Senior’s Bonspiel running February 28, March 1 & 2. The cash spiel will have three events and although registration for the event closed on Monday, February 20, there is nothing preventing the public from making their way to the rink and cheering on teams on the ice.

A study in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, titled “Curling for Confidence”, headed by Dr. Rachael Stone, a professor at Queen’s University who teaches courses around healthy aging, looked at how curlers of all experience react to engaging in the sport. Previous studies have found that older adults who participate in sports are happier, more fit and are less likely to experience depression. A significant part of successful aging isn’t just physical or psychological, but also those social interactions can have a massive impact on individuals. By the end of the study, the results showed that all groups from experienced curling vets to newcomers were self-reporting higher levels of confidence and better feelings towards their own aging.

“The results were pretty striking. Even someone who’s had three, six months of experience, they started to accrue the benefits of a curler who’s been curling for 20 years,” says Stone. “They suggest that if you pick up the sport, there are results that happen pretty much right away.” Stone says that this sort of information about the deeper effect of sports on the psychological and social side of aging should be more readily available for older adults. For Dr. Joseph Baker, a professor of kinesiology at York University, and fellow author of the study, sees this research as a way to help change the way the public looks at older athletes.”

“Our stereotypes about aging are mostly negative,” says Baker. “We’re starting to see these amazing accomplishments by older athletes that we never thought people in their 70’s and 80’s would be able to do. We’re starting to break down these myths about age and performance.”

Although still far away from her 70’s or 80’s, Team Saskatchewan's Sherry Anderson has been curling for nearly 50 years, "It's just a great social sport and it's good competition and it's a good thing to do when you're in 40-below weather," she says. "It gets you out of the house in the wintertime to go and play a sport. So, that's why I enjoy it." Anderson has won the Canadian Senior Curling Championships a record five-straight times: in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022. The 2020 Championships were canceled due to COVID. She also won a gold medal for Canada at the 2018 and 2019 World Senior Curling Championships.

Teams from neighbouring communities around Rosthern will be taking to the pebbled surface alongside local teams for the three day event starting next Tuesday. The concession will be open, and the coffee will be hot and for curling enthusiasts, there will likely be plenty of opportunities to discuss strategy, the outcome of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts or the upcoming Tim Horton’s Brier and of course there will be the iconic 50/50 draws to get tickets on.

This is the 19th running of the annual event which pits senior curlers against each other and as of Friday, February 17th there were six teams with ages ranging from 55 to 87 entered. All games will take place in the mornings starting at 9:30 am.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder