Maria Hamilton with husband, Pat, after a doubles bonspiel they attended in Langley. (Submitted photo)

Athlete in Focus: Maria Hamilton

Maria Hamilton absolutely loves curling.

“In the winter for us, curling is almost our (her and husband, Pat) life. We go in three times a week and that’s not including meetings, that’s just curling. We curl in mixed and I curl in ladies and we go into doubles and that’s twice a month.”

Hamilton is a member of the 100 Mile House Curling Club and is also the club’s treasurer and marketing person. She joined the club about seven years ago, a year or so after moving to Bridge Lake from Calgary, which is where she got involved in curling.

She started the sport in 1986. She had just moved to Alberta’s largest city with her sister and they were looking for something to do, enabling them to exercise and meet new people. Curling afforded them both.

“We were looking for friends so we started curling in a truckers league, actually, in Calgary with the Inglewood Curling Club,” she said, and it was not just for truckers.” Because we were not truckers, but we were friends of truckers.”

The league was open, so there were many men’s teams but also mixed teams or teams with one woman and three men. Hamilton said her favourite part of curling was the strategy. She also really enjoys the social aspect of the sport.

“After league curling, you’re always having a drink and socializing with everybody that curled and we have a lot of events so there’s a lot of time to socialize with those people. Throughout my life, those interactions with fellow curlers have created my social group, even outside of curling. Even here. We’ve only been here for eight years but all my friends are curlers.”

The Hamiltons moved here after looking for a retirement vacation property. They wanted a property on the lake and according to Hamilton, there are no such lake-front properties that are decently priced in Alberta anywhere. They ended up looking online, found one, put an offer in and got it, then they came for what was supposed to be a six-week vacation. It only took them two weeks to decide to sell everything back in Alberta and stay in the South Cariboo full-time.

A year later, Hamilton got involved with the curling club after she attended a party and was introduced to a woman who said to her that she must be a curler, coming from Alberta. When Hamilton confirmed this, the woman asked her to come curl at the club every Thursday.

“I have been there every week.”

After a year at the club, she became the treasurer after the president at the time [Joanne Dodderidge] asked. A CPA (Certified Public Accountant), Hamilton was a natural fit.

“I’m also a marketing person. We’ve been marketing quite a bit lately, trying to get new curlers and new teams and grow our club. It seems to be working. Our average age is staying the same or coming down in some years where we’re getting younger curlers in. I always enjoy playing with the juniors and watching them grow in the sport has been really awesome. To see them come out and they can hardly throw a rock and in one year they are beating all the teams that have curled for 30 years. It’s quite amazing to watch them improve so quickly.”

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