Stone Cold Competitors
The club has curling opportunities for all ages and abilities. In addition to the official 45-pound rock, there are two lower, lighter levels of rocks available for younger or newer curlers. For curlers with physical limitations, delivery stick and wheelchair curling options are available and provide competitive gameplay due to the club’s substantial membership in both categories. In fact, the club goes out of its way to work with and train curlers of differing physical abilities. The club’s publicity officer, Jeanie Yaroch, praises the sport’s adaptability to incorporate and accommodate a wide range of players, spanning ages and abilities, making CCCC proud to be home to a diverse community of athletes.
Some club members have competed on the world stage. Three CCCC curlers, Mashpee’s David Palmer, East Falmouth’s Meghan Lino, and Steve Emt, who travels from Connecticut to curl with the CCCC wheelchair program, have represented team USA at both the Wheelchair Curling World Championships and the Paralympic Games. This year two more CCCC curlers are poised to join the elite squad. Although no medal has been won to date, Cape Cod continues to develop more world class wheelchair curling talent than any other U.S. club.
As involved community members, many of the club’s curlers participate in local charity fundraising events. This includes the Falmouth Christmas Parade, a Thanksgiving food drive as well as a number of contributions to other charitable organizations. The club also helps its own, offering a college scholarship awarded to junior members pursuing higher education.
Russ Lemcke, known as “Mr. Curling,” believes the atmosphere of respect to players at all levels is the key piece to curling’s charm. Lemcke describes curling as “a unique and healthy sport with a perfect blend of social activity and competitiveness.” Lemcke expands, “In curling, your competitor is your friend.” Lemcke believes this attitude attracts like-minded competitors who put friendliness and respect at the forefront of their game. Even in a sport known for its amiable nature, by all accounts CCCC and its members stand out among others as the friendliest and most hospitable.
In 2018 Lemcke had the honor of being inducted into the United States Curling Association Hall of Fame. Lemcke has played in a variety of international destinations, from Canada to several European nations. With these worldwide experiences under his belt, he states confidently, “Curling is the best team sport. There is universal respect among the game’s players, exemplified through encouragement, lack of trash talk and, at the end of the game, a trip out for refreshments where the winner buys the loser drinks.”
Lemcke is also known as the “Johnny Appleseed of curling” for his work in establishing numerous curling clubs. The recently opened Lower Cape Curling Club in Orleans as well as a club on Nantucket are Lemcke’s work. Lemcke’s commitment to the sport comes from his honest belief that, “If curling was mankind’s natural sport, there would be no war.”
Stripped down to its very core, Michael Minior believes that curling is “something to do in the winter.” Unquestionably, the experience of curling here on Cape Cod is so much more than just that. Minior explains curling is in a class of its own when it comes to “camaraderie and social interaction. Every game presents new opportunities, new friends, and away games offer new places.” Minior states that he is excited to see “the curling community on both Cape Cod and the Islands is still expanding.”
Jeanie Yaroch recounts that curling has become a huge part of her life. Curling is a rewarding and fulfilling social endeavor and Yaroch is on an endless quest to improve. Yaroch is especially drawn to what is known as the Spirit of Curling, which the World Curling Federation describes like this: “Curling is a game of skill and of traditions…Curlers play to win but never to humble their opponents. A true curler would prefer to lose rather than win unfairly…The spirit of the game demands good sportsmanship, kindly feeling and honorable conduct. This spirit should influence both the interpretation and application of the rules of the game and also the conduct of all participants on and off the ice.”
The CCCC is among the Cape’s best off-season recreational options. The club is able to offer some of the most affordable dues in the nation, thanks in part to its large membership, numerous fundraisers, all-volunteer staff and acute financial management. As a club dedicated to friendship and fun for all, it is undoubtedly succeeding in its mission.
Curling, while not always the obvious choice for sportsmen, has found a highly dedicated player base on Cape Cod. The passion its members hold for the sport is visibly apparent at every turn. The club is poised to be a welcome fixture on Cape Cod for years to come.
Matt Tormey is an editorial intern at Cape Cod Life Publications
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