By: Brenda Chapman
It’s safe to say that Lisa had a handle on the sport of curling before she threw her first rock. I’d curled in high school (one lesson, corn brooms, no slider and jeans) in my small Northern Ontario town, and when Lisa and her younger sister Julia were six and four respectively, I suggested to Ted that we take up the sport together at the Ottawa Granite.
For our mixed league Saturday or Sunday afternoon games, we’d bring the girls to the club and they’d set up their play structure in the ladies’ change room or read books and play games behind the glass. They were comfortable in this homey and friendly club, especially when the adults were curling and they had the run of the place.
Although Ted had never thought about the sport before, he took to curling like a duck to water — the physicality mixed with strategic thinking deeply appealed to him. He’d spend hours at the dinner table discussing strategy and replaying shots with our salt and pepper shakers and coins, drawing circles on sheets of paper. We began watching the Canadian women's and men's championships on TV. Our skills were barely passable but the passion was full blown.
Lisa and Julia didn’t show any interest in the actual game or in getting out on the ice. Our after-game chatter about shots missed and games won or lost appeared to go right over their heads. They’d tolerate the curling discussions but avoid them when they could. For them, the high point of being at the club was buying snacks at the bar.
We were driving home after an afternoon game, one in which I’d struggled throwing my rocks. I was bemoaning my play when Lisa piped up from the back seat. “You were a little wide on your out turns, Mom.” Ted and I simultaneously turned our heads to look at each other. “How did she know that?” I mouthed — and even more amazingly, she was right!
We were told that Lisa had to wait until she turned eight to join the little rocks program. By then, we knew that wanted to play the game and seemed to have an affinity for it. That same year, the Granite sent Ted and me to Brockville to take the level one coaching course so that we could become instructors. After Julia began her curling career at age seven, the four of us were spending every Saturday morning on the ice.
Both girls were natural throwers. Ted’s strategy talks appeared to have sunk in through some mysterious osmosis. Before long, the Weagle sisters were to become regulars on the competitive little rocks circuit.
Brenda Chapman is Lisa Weagle's mother. She is in South Korea with her husband Ted and son-in-law Robin to cheer on Team Homan.