Locked down seniors launch 'floor curling'

·2 min read

Ethel Lockrey, 97, and a resident of Silver Fox Estate in Salisbury said people might be surprised at what she and some other seniors have come up with while under lockdown at their retirement residence: floor curling.

The game bears some resemblance to regular curling, except there are little wheels under the stones, and of course the absence of ice, said another resident, Doug Sentell, 83, adding that a smooth surface is still important.

"I think people would be surprised to know such a game exists. It's fantastic,” said fellow resident Glenna Brugess, 91, adding that she really enjoyed playing and thinks she could be good at it.

This week, the seniors had a faceoff: women versus men, said Sentell.

The women's team won, he said

The women’s team’s most senior senior was certainly a big part of their success, though she is very humble, Sentell said.

Lockrey, who many referred to in interviews as “Speedy Ethel” said she thinks “people would be surprised that at 97 years old I can play."

"I like to curl. It exercises my whole body and I feel that's important,” she said.

Sentell said this week’s game was only the second time he and his fellow residents have given the new game a shot, but noted their skills have improved considerably.

“The first time we were flipping the stones upside down,” he said, sharing that his biggest tip would be not to push too hard initially.

“We had 10 playing this time. The first time there were maybe four or five that tried, with more as spectators,” said Sentell, adding that people have been learning by watching.

Jason Wilson, operator of Silver Fox Estate, said the home, which opened in May during the pandemic, has hired a full-time wellness coordinator, who has been organizing everything from curling to chair fitness.

Residents can’t have visitors nor can they participate in off-site visits right now, he said.

The home is their household bubble, he said.

But while opening during a pandemic was a nightmare from a business perspective, Wilson said, the positive side has been really getting to know each resident slowly and watching residents grow closer to each other than they perhaps would have been otherwise.

“They rely on each other. They take care of each other,” he said.

From crib, to bingo, to chair exercises, they do activities together, said Wilson.

And now, of course, they curl together.

Sentell said he thinks as they get more players interested they could explore the possibility of a tournament.

“I think this could take off,” he said.

Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal