By Garrett Simmons
For Taber Times
Across Alberta, registration numbers are up in recreational sports leagues.
As COVID-19 restrictions continue to impact people across the province, many are turning to sports as an avenue to stay active and keep busy throughout what promises to be a long winter.
Taber sturling club is no different, as organizer Steve Swarbrick pointed out Mondays have been very busy down at the Taber Curling Club.
“We’re excited to see an increase in numbers. We’re excited to see more players coming out and we’re right on the bubble now of having two draws instead of one.”
Swarbrick added sturling, which is a modified version of curling, where players have the option of using a stick to carry out their delivery, is the perfect sport for these pandemic times.
“Curling itself does lend itself well to social distancing,” said Swarbrick, who added sturling accomplishing that even more effectively, with only four players per sheet and restrictions on sweeping.
With only two players per team, and sweeping not allowed between the hog lines, sturling allows players to hit the ice for a quick six-end game, which typically can be played in under one hour.
“There are six rocks per player, per end, and each player controls one end of the ice,” Swarbrick explained. Players are not allowed to cross centre ice, which also helps save time and allows for players to effectively distance. The ease in which the sport can conform to health protocols is just one draw, according to Swarbrick, who added those who have trouble with a traditional curling delivery may find sturling a little more to their liking.
“It’s to allow curlers who maybe don’t have the knees they used to, to still have a regular curling delivery,” he said, as the stick can allow players to continue to play the game they love.
Sturlers hit the ice every Monday on a drop-in basis. However, the goal is to formalize the structure of the Monday night ice time, if the interest is there.
“I’m hoping we can have commitment of our players and have a draw in place around Christmas, and move into a regular draw in January,” said Swarbrick.
Plans are also in the works for a few one-day bonspiels, along with a bonspiel in March. Of course, those plans are contingent on COVID-19 protocols, according to Swarbrick.