To commemorate our sponsorship with this year’s Everest Curling Challenge (August 25 – 27) in Fredericton, NB, we followed up with a Canadian curler whose passion for curling runs deep in his family (with his youngest daughter also a provincial curling champion) and is only getting more seasoned with age.
For Brian Roblin, a Manager at Optimus|SBR, a Management Consulting firm, curling is not just any sport or hobby, it was a way of life growing up in small town Lindsay, Ontario. Starting at age 14, curling was part of the after-school program and over 50 kids participated in his high school. He remembers the Lindsay Curling Club and how it was the place where his passion began.
When he first started curling, it wasn’t as easy as it looked. He wasn’t a natural but practice and learning from other fellow curlers turned this challenge into an enjoyable sport. He started to compete, first at the junior level, which only fine-tuned his skills even further.
While Brian was a competitive curler early in his career, he joined Scarboro Golf & Country Club in 1993 and really started getting more recognition later in life, which peaked when as a member of the Guy Racette team (named after the skip at the time), which also included his brother, Tom, won the Ontario Seniors championship in 2011. This earned Brian and his team the chance to represent Ontario at the Canadian Seniors Curling Championships. This competition is a nationally recognized competition for individuals 50 and over, across each province and territory annually. The championships were held in Digby, Nova Scotia that year and Team Ontario finished with a record of 5 wins and 6 losses, and is one of Brian’s most memorable competitions to date.
Bonspiels, League Play, and Practice
To prepare for each season, the team gets together and sets up a plan of weekend bonspiels (curling tournaments) alongside a regular club league and practice schedule, to ensure that the team is ready for the Seniors playdowns, which begins in December/January. Over the season, he and his team typically play in 5-6 bonspiels, they individually play in club leagues twice a week, and ramp up additional practice time before competition.
Along with the frequent practices, Brian also keeps active and in shape during the curling season. He doesn’t work out as much as he would like, but he does incorporate more walking, stretching, and a healthier diet during the season.
Curling as a spectator
Brian also enjoys watching a lot of curling in his down time and is looking forward to the Canadian Olympic Team Trials and Winter Olympics this season. While Canada is assured of great representatives, he is certainly going to be following the Brad Gushue team as he had the opportunity to meet with lead Geoff Walker this past summer.
When Brian is not competing with his team, he finds himself enjoying cottaging throughout the summer and attending as many classic rock concerts that he and his wife Mary can find.
Advice to Canadians looking to pick up curling later in life
Curling is a very flexible sport. You can be as competitive as you want and it is a great hobby to have to stay social within your community. It is also a sport that you can play at every level, either on a completely social level or you can work harder at the sport to improve and to play at a more competitive level. It is a sport where age can be a benefit rather than a detriment as knowledge and experience can help refine skills and techniques over time. For Brian, curling keeps him motivated and challenged in life, something that we all need as we grow older.