I have a profound love of curling. Ever since I discovered the sport at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, I have been hooked. Months after the Olympics ended I found out that the 2012 National Curling Championship would be held just two hours away from me near Philly. I bought my tickets instantly and attended the event four out of the eight days it was there. It was a fantastic experience to speak one on one with some of the athletes who just a year ago were competing in the Olympics. It was there that I met Debbie McCormick and Nicole Joraanstad. I had arranged to get a photo with Nicole and Allison Pottinger, but sadly timing didn't work out. I did speak a number of times with Debbie throughout the week about the Olympics and her experiences with curling. It was a truly fascinating encounter with one of the Olympic athletes. I also was fortunate enough to befriend a few of the other competitors, including Steph Sambor that I have kept in touch with since then. The 2014 Nationals are once again being held in Philly and I even plan to finally learn to curl (embarrassing video to follow).
|Debbie McCormick and I - 2012 Curling Nationals|
|Steph Sambor and I - 2012 Curling Nationals|
|Actor Wil Weaton at the Summer Bonspiel - |
Photo courtesy of the Hollywood Curling Club
An hour before we were to begin chatting I still had not had a Skype contact request on my end. Now we all know that feeling when you have a big presentation when a major component of your presentation is not working correctly. The panic started to set in and I fired off a quick e-mail to Terry. A few minutes later she responded and gave me the information of the USA Olympic Team's rep in Sochi who was facilitating the call. It was now 20 minutes before we were to begin chatting and I called the rep in Russia, and I got a voicemail. I think I now know what a mild heart attack feels like, but I left a message. Ten minutes until our call and another call to the rep when I finally got through. She said she'd contact Allison to see what was going on. Five minutes now, and kids are starting to file into the library in front of our big Promethean board. A quick e-mail from Terry and my heart lept, she was with Allison and they were setting things up! After waiting another few minutes and a failed Skype call, we were finally connected!
grade) that were asked to prepare questions to ask Allison. They each took turns walking up to the laptop and asked Allison their question. Questions ranged from rules of the sport, equipment, to even personal questions about her family. Mrs. Pottinger was more than gracious with our students and was phenomenal with their questions. I had limited our students to a total of 20 questions so as not to keep her too long. At the end of our questioning, I asked the students to say thank you and was ready to let her go. To my surprise she responded, "Do you all have any more questions? I have time." I just laughed and we let it go another 20 minutes. It was truly a remarkable experience for the kids to speak live to an Olympic athlete
In the end our students gained some major insight into the Olympic experience, team work, and just how technology can bring them closer than they thought. On the other hand, I believe Curling (and Mrs. Pottinger in particular) gained some new fans.