Everyone Welcome at the Curling Center
The sound of Andy Young laughing is pure joy.
And nothing makes Andy laugh like beating his dad at the Greater Midland Curling Center in a game he calls “take out.”
“It’s Andy’s favorite game and it’s a little bit like horseshoes or shuffleboard, except you play on ice. When we play take out, we take turns sliding the curling stone trying to get them closest to the target. Andy just loves to shoot really hard and knock all my stones out of the way,” said Gregg Young, Andy’s father.
It was Andy’s love of curling that motivated Gregg six years ago to organize Andy’s League, a curling group for people like his son who have developmental or physical disabilities. Each Saturday morning from November through March, about 18 players – including parents, siblings, friends and caregivers – come out to play at the Curling Center.
“Greater Midland and the club have been very supportive and embraced us,” said Gregg.
The Midland Curling Club has been around since the early 1960s. In 2008, the club moved into its new facility at 2009 S. Jefferson Ave. and has seen its membership skyrocket from 80 to 240 members.
The increase in membership has allowed the club to expand the number of leagues to fill almost every day of the week. When not in use for league play, the club is available for curling rentals to the general public. These rentals are staffed by club members who volunteer to teach the sport and introduce curling to the larger community.
The Curling Center sets aside ice time every Saturday morning for Andy’s League.
In traditional curling, players slide heavy, polished granite stones across the ice toward a target area segmented into four concentric circles. The purpose is to accumulate the highest score for a game; points are scored for the stones resting closest to the center. Two sweepers with brooms warm the ice in front of the sliding stone to help direct its trajectory.
Players in Andy’s League follow standard rules for wheelchair curling and don’t use sweepers. All equipment and training are provided.
It’s the club’s spirit of commitment, a desire for growing the sport, and a connection to the Midland community that convinced the Curling Club to support Andy’s League, said Mike Devon, president of the Greater Midland Curling Club.
“If you ever feel the need to see sport being played for pure enjoyment, drop by the Curling Club during curling season to watch Andy’s League participants curl. They truly are special curlers and the club is very proud to be able to support them,” Devon said.
-- Please visit www.greatermidland.org for more information about the Greater Midland Curling Center or Andy’s League.