Sept. 19, 2013

The 1st Annual HPI Research and Curling Day 2013

Article by Brad van Paridon (PhD student, Gilleard lab, University of Calgary)

On September 19th, the HPI group was out to “sweep” away the lab work for an afternoon, proof we aren’t all “hacks” and slide some fun into the “house”.  If you haven’t guessed by the terminology above the group took an afternoon off to learn about and try out, many of us for the first time, the sport of curling.  We were graciously hosted by the Calgary Curling Club and were honoured to be joined by Olympian and 2010 Gold Medalist in curling, John Morris.   The afternoon was loads of fun and perhaps surprisingly no one was hurt, except for a few egos, as we were unleashed onto the slippery ice surface.

The staff at the Curling Club started us off with an intro to the rules of the game and some of the basic movements required to play the game.  This was a much needed crash course and there were a few crashed bodies on the ice as well when we practiced sliding on the ice with the plastic “sliders” strapped to one foot.  After the quick intro we were promptly split into teams of four and the first annual HPI bonspiel (curling tournament) was on!


There was some fierce but friendly competition throughout the tournament with a few games coming down to the last rock.  More importantly though, the afternoon allowed the group to meet the new faces, reacquaint with old ones and generally build a relaxed atmosphere for the HPI team to get to know each other outside the lab. As one of the participants that day I can personally say this was achieved.

After all the ends had been played and the brooms put away for another day the group headed to the lounge for much needed food and drinks.  We won’t announce the winners here but our distinguished host John Morris did keep track and made a presentation to the group.  Not only did he give us the scores, he talked about the importance of team work and trust amongst team members as a necessary element to success in any profession.  He even went out of his way to appeal to our scientific nature and offered up some fun scientific facts about his sport.

All told, the afternoon was a fun one and although many of us realized we won’t be getting Olympic gold any time soon we were able to enjoy ourselves and catch up after the summer.  We again would like to thank John Morris and the Calgary Curling Club for their hospitality and helping us get our brooms in order.  Until next year “hurry hard” everyone.

Thank you John for your time and effort. We really appreciated you joining us at this event, and hope that you'll come help us out in the future! We are all rooting for you this year at the Olympics!