BC is a long time ago. Before Curling is 1500 AD. In Aberdeen Scotland I saw and held the oldest curling stone found in a lake in Scotland dated 1519. Yes, curling started on the lochs (lakes of Scotland) it was an outdoor sport.
Curling came to American Shores in the 1840’s. It is unclear whether Detroit or Milwaukee started the first Club. But in 2017, the Grand National Curling club, the predecessor to the United States Curling Association, will be 150 years old. This confirms that curling in the United States was well established in 1857.
How did Curling get to Wilmington in 2011? Well, the World Olympics decided to add curling as a demonstration sport in the Nagano Japan winter Olympics in 1992. It went well, and in 1996 at Torino, Italy, the Pete Fenson rink, with John Shuster as the Lead, did win a Bronze Olympic medal. That was the turnaround of; or maybe better said, “the turn on” for curling in the United States.
The 2010 the Olympics again had curling on television. The United States Curling Association website encouraged people to log on and search for curling clubs. There was an inquiry from a Wilmington resident. At the time those inquiries were forwarded to regional organizations. The Grand National Curling Club is the regional organization now for the eastern USA, including North Carolina.
I was, at that time, a Vice President for that organization for growth and membership. I contacted the individual in Wilmington and arranged a meeting. That meeting at Buffalo Wild Wings on Eastwood had five people, I think. I told them if they wanted to curl that we needed to organize and reviewed the membership rules for starting a curling club. The process, which was to have at least 8 members, a set of by- laws, and $25 for an application to the GNCC. In that meeting I agreed to fulfill the requirements and fill out an application. I did that, including finding 8 names of curlers, including a bowler from Swansboro.
At the Spring Meeting of the GNCC in 2011, the application was approved for the Coastal Carolina Curling Club. The eight members listed on the application all disappeared except Charlotte and me. When I met with Rick of Wilmington Ice House, he said that he had a new general manager coming in. So, once Wayne Alexander arrived, I got an agreement with him approved by Rick to try curling at the Ice House.
Charlotte and I contacted a few of our friends at the arena clubs of Triangle and Charlotte asking for some assistance for a Learn to Curl in June of 2011. I arranged to have some rocks brought in. Actually we had just 4 borrowed rocks and some old brooms At the Learn to Curl I did not instruct (hopefully you know why) but Charlotte did, as well as about eight others volunteers from Triangle and Charlotte At that first learn to curl on June 4, 2011, Sue Mitchell and Rhonda Harlow, primarily, signed up 14 members for the curling club. Charlotte and I missed the after curling broom stacking held at the Beach House because we had a flight out of Myrtle Beach going to Atlantic City. However, I had left a $100 for the bar tab which I understood lasted long enough for the idea of curling to resonate with those enjoying the hospitality.
So with some players, I arranged with the Grand National Curling Club to lease some rocks which are still in use. We worked out a few curling dates, got the rocks, built the storage racks, and started curling in September, I think. We soon elected officers and those are the folks that have stepped up to create a great club. I think almost all of the original members are still on the rolls, and all of us are so proud of the people that have joined to create a wonderful club.
So I guess the term Founder does apply to Charlotte and me, but the Coastal Carolina Curling Club is made of many energetic, dedicated, and motivated members who will take curling in Wilmington a long way. Our future is bright, our past is history, and now a lighthouse beacon shines bright on the grand old sport.
BC is a long time ago but it seems like curling has been here forever…..at CCCC (Coastal Carolina Curling Club) and the 5 year anniversary is close. Where will we be in another 5 years…it is up to you…?