Sundays at the Granite Curling Club mean a flurry of activity as Nick Sears alongside his teammates meticulously glide over the ice. They bear the playful moniker, ‘Loosen up my Buttons,’ a cheeky nod towards the well-known tune by Pussy Cat Dolls.
For the second consecutive year, the team combines their efforts on the icy surface as a part of the Keystone Rainbow Curling League, a bustling community that ranks amongst the largest queer sports collectives within the province. The current season boasts of over 150 enthusiasts, comprising 31 teams – a record setter in the league’s 18-year long chronicle.
Sears emphasizes the significance of such platforms within the queer community, providing much more than just an outlet for indulging in sport. The primary objective indeed remains at heart, curling. Simultaneously, the sense of belonging and camaraderie fostered within the league doubles as a much-needed haven for its members.
Echoing Sears’ sentiments, the influential president of the league, Mark Lawson, underlines the role of this league in fostering inclusivity and creating safe havens. Lawson considers it essential to offer spaces that affirm a sense of belonging to all its participants.
Maintaining stride with its core beliefs, the league recently took the veil off its emblematic pride flag curling rings, enlisting the solidarity of its diverse member community. As Lawson explains, this not only creates a sanctified personal space but also proclaims the league’s unity and existence.
The phenomenon of welcoming inclusivity impresses Meagan Stewart, a member of the “Tricks of the Rings” team. She cherishes the underlying sense of acceptance and an unspoken bond shared among players, irrespective of the extent of mutual interaction.
Nikki Webb, a member of Team Boisvert, brings with her a lifetime of competitive curling experience and asserts that participation in this league is a unique experience in itself.
The League spans an array of participants, ranging from highly skilled veterans to fresh beginners. It cultivates an open invitation to any individual within the city’s queer community, encouraging attendance at various events and workshops for grasping the basics of curling.
Lawson explains their perennial engagement in “Learn to Curl” events to ensure increased involvement in the sport. Individuals curious about participating as spare participants are invited to register through the official organization’s website, eliminating any prerequisite of experience or technical know-how in curling.
The league offers a prominent nod of invitation to the LGBTQ2S+ community for its forthcoming social events and anticipates further growth as the current season races forward.