PORT HARDY—Before getting talked into taking part in Fort Rupert Curling Club’s annual Fall Funkin’ event, Amanda Amarilho had never even heard of the sport of curling.
Then again, it’s not as if there are a lot of clubs in her native Brazil.
“We have ice, but it’s only for ice skating,” said Amarilho, a Rotary Club exchange student attending Port Hardy Secondary School this year.
Amarilho was not the only novice curling to take part in the club’s season kick-off, an event which combines a nine-hole scramble golf tournament with a pair of four-end curling games for each foursome. But she was the only player who had no concept of what was about to happen when she walked into the club following just her second attempt at golfing.
“I’m not athletic,” she admitted. “I only go to the gym (to work out). I’ve played basketball, but only a little.”
Fort Rupert Curling Club continues to draw new participants to the unique dual-sport event, the autumn counterpart to the annual Daffodilly event that combines the same two activities in the spring. Where the Daffodilly is played to close out the curling season and get players ready for golf, the Fall Funkin’ places an emphasis on introducing curling to interested newcomers at the start of a new season.
After experimenting with combined scoring formats in previous Daffodillys and Fall Funkins, organizers arrived this year at a method that awarded golf scores of one point per bogey, two points per par and three points for each birdie, augmented by two points for each end won in the curling matches and another two points for the winner of the game.
The quartet of John Maday, Meagan Cadwallader and Mike and Naomi Stead cruised to Saturday’s team title by dominating on the ice. After finishing sixth among the nine entered teams on the golf course with 13 points, the Maday rink rolled to 10-point sweeps in both of their curling matches for a 33-point total.
That gave the foursome a comfortable cushion over the runner-up rink of Tom and Kathy Baker of Port McNeill, with 27 points, and Doug McCorquodale and his rink of Pacific Biological Services novices, third with 26 points.
“Our curling skills definitely outweighed our golf,” said Naomi Stead.
Cadwallader said it helped that all four members of the team possessed at least some degree of experience on both the golf course and the curling ice.
“We had a very balanced team,” she said. “That was the key.”
The newcomers were obvious, sliding into a reclining position and laughing after releasing a stone, or sweeping timidly and hesitantly, oblivious to the good-natured calls of “hurry hard!” coming from teammates.
One of those who spent time seated on the ice was Amarilho, who never quite mastered the release of the stone but who nonetheless said she would be willing to come back to give curling another try.
Even if it is a contact sport, in her book.
“It’s cool,” she said. “But it hurts.”