A championship-winning rink was honing its skills at the 100 Mile House Curling Club on Dec. 5 in anticipation for a blind curling provincial bonspiel coming to town in January.
Jim Vinson, Katelyn Seiler, Marilyn Vinson, Lori Fry, and sighted guide Joey Seiler take the ice on Friday mornings, with 2013 and 2011 West Coast Blind Curling Association championship banners hanging overhead.
The 2015 West Coast Blind Curling Association Provincial Playdowns take place Jan. 9-11 in 100 Mile House. The tourney will also see teams from Kelowna, Prince George and Vancouver.
Based on the results of that upcoming bonspiel, two teams will represent British Columbia at the Western Blind Curling Association Championships in Kamloops in March.
As many would attest, curling is a game of inches, and throwing a good a stone takes precision. So it’s imperative players with visual impairments make adjustments to meet their individual needs, explains Lori Fry.
Fry’s vision can change from year to year, so adapting to her new environment when she hits the ice is essential. At a recent practice, as other curlers worked on sweeping techniques in adjacent lanes, sighted guide Joey Seiler held out a handle fixed with a small flashlight in front of Fry, as she prepared to slide out of the hack. The bright reflection off the ice gives Fry a focal point in the centre of the sheet, something she can distinguish in her field of vision, which is described as a murky mix of brightness and shadows.
Now into their fifth season of competition, the local curlers have come a long way since getting into the sport as a recreational pastime.
The local team finished third place at provincials in Vancouver in 2014, and competed as part of Team BC in a national tournament in Ottawa in February.