Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The day the lights went out

In February 1972, a long-running miners' strike caused homes and businesses to be without electricity for several hours each day. The Scottish Ice Rink, Crossmyloof, installed an emergency generator to allow curling to continue when the lights went out. It was a rather frightening experience. You would be curling away during the evening session, and the building would suddenly go completely black. Stones continued to rumble down the ice around you. Scary! A short time later, the emergency lighting came on, and the games continued. Mind you, if you had draw weight before, you certainly didn't have it under the new, much dimmer, lights!

That frightening experience of being completely in the dark in the middle of a curling rink is not something that I would care to repeat. Some have no choice in the matter, of course. All this came to mind when Ena Stevenson got in touch to tell me of the Visually Impaired Workshop which is being held in Kinross today and tomorrow. The agenda includes a demonstration of the discipline with exhibition matches, presentations about visually impaired curling and classroom sessions looking to the future.

Most of us will never find out what it is like to be visually impaired. I much admire and respect those who are, and have the desire to participate in curling. I met some of the country's VI curlers last year, see here.

There is a need to get rules for VI curling sorted out, as well as how games are conducted, and the best ways to introduce VI players to this ice sport. Dottie Burt (Disability Representative on the Royal Club's Development Committee) and Danny Lamoureux (Championship Services and Curling Club Development with the Canadian Curling Association) are running the workshop. Ena is a co-presenter. There are two on-ice sessions each day.