Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Duluth beat Thunder Bay using rolling delivery

A team from Duluth MN beat a team from Thunder Bay 9-2  in the first ever cross border wheelchair curling club challenge match in Grand Marais, MN. The game was remarkable for the fact that the Minnesota players used a rolling rather than a stationary delivery.

Duluth team member Shawn Corbin explained his surprise to discover that WCF rules insist that delivery be from a stationary wheelchair, as he had become used to manipulating both rock and chair towards the hogline before release. He felt that his method had considerable advantages, and saw no reason why the rules should not allow for it.

I will post our emails on this subject as a comment below.

1 comment:

Eric Eales said...

Shawn Corbin described using a unique delivery at the match and I asked for more information. Here's our correspondence:

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Eric,

Here's the story, about 3 years ago, a local non-profit disability sports/rec program started having Curling nights once a month.....There were volunteers, that knew curling, but had no clue about doing it from a chair. So I watched non-disabled curlers throwing rocks from the hack, & copied their sliding delivery.

(By "sliding delivery" I mean that I, with delivery stick on rock,sit with my right side facing the other end, & my left side facing the hack 12 inches in front of it. I start the rock moving by pushing on left wheel, change hands that stick is in, push on right wheel, alternating until near top of house. While rolling, I line up shot and take it before the hog line....if you can imagine that.....think of being at a bar or party w/ beer in hand, need to move chair, cant put beer in lap cause it'll spill on crotch, so you move by alternating what hand is holding drink, pushing wheel w/ hand that isn't holding beer....that's what I'm doing w/ delivery stick)

Once we started really getting into curling, we looked up the rules for wheelchair curling...I was bummed to find out that delivery is to be from a "stationary wheelchair". So I tried the standard delivery method, and found it to be much more difficult, not only to get the correct line, but just getting the rock moving from a stop uses most of your strength. I'm basically imitating how non-disabled curlers have done it for years.

So when I was contacted by the Thunder Bay coach to set up a match, we were excited to finally play another wheelchair team, but I wasn't sure what they would think of the delivery. Two of us on our team use the "sliding or moving delivery" so we showed it to the team and their coach beforehand. I believe their comments were like.."I've never seen anyone do it that way before... not even on the internet." We wanted to make sure that they were okay w/ us doing it that way....they had no problem with it, and didn't see why it shouldn't be allowed, even after the game was over and we had won.

I had met with USA Wheelchair Curling coach Steve Brown last winter in Hibbing, MN, partially to speak to him about w.c. curling, and partially to get his thoughts on our delivery. He didn't seem that enthusiastic about it, but what was I expecting?

We currently have 3 guys in wheelchairs on our team, and this is our 2nd year playing leagues at the Duluth Curling Club against non-disabled curlers. I can honestly say that I'm absolutely hooked on the sport of curling, but feeling unsure about the reception I'd get from other w.c. teams. I really don't know what steps we would have to take to change the delivery rule. I realize that not every w.c. curler could do it this way, but I don't see why both ways couldn't be allowed. What do you think? I'd like to get footage of the moving delivery up on the internet, so you can see what I'm talking about....also you could talk to the curlers and coach from Thunder Bay, which have seen it & which all happen to be great people....like most other curlers I've meet.

Thanks for the interest,
Shawn Corbin - Duluth, MN

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HI Shawn,

Thanks for your really interesting email.

I think that you have no chance of getting the rule changed concerning stationary delivery. The reason is that ability to manipulate a wheelchair in addition to the ability to manipulate a rock would exclude a great many people unnecessarily. It adds a dimension of physicality that need not be present.

I can understand how, for those able to deliver rocks as you describe, it is advantageous. I also imagine, at the high performance level, that you would be at a disadvantage over stationary curlers as far as weight control is concerned.

Having said that, rules set for World Curling Federation events need not apply to social or club curling. I encourage club curlers to make any modification to the rules that maximises participation, so I would not object if you were my opponent at a club match.

If you want to develop your skills and challenge for a place on the USA team, then you would probably be better off practicising guided by WCF rules, but if you are just playing for your own enjoyment, then go for it.

I'll post something on the website and see what others think.

Good luck and please stay in touch.

Eric

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Eric,

Thanks for your input. Just to clarify my position: I'm not saying that my delivery is the best way & should be done by everyone....It's the best way for me....I don't see why the rules couldn't allow for both methods. I guess I come from an athletic background, having played wheelchair basketball, tennis, softball, etc., all of which encourage participation from disabled athletes of all abilities (such as points system in basketball & softball). The stationary delivery rule seems that it takes someone that may have more athletic ability, and purposely lowers to a lower level. Maybe it was intended to put everyone on a similar level - There are different levels of play in able-bodied curling. Maybe no one has thought to do it, or when the rules were being drawn up maybe no one thought someone in a chair could do it while moving?

I don't know when the w.c. rules were written & by who....But I don't believe that it's unfair to do it....that's not why I do it...The guys from Thunder Bay didn't think so either....All I know is that I have loved competing in wheelchair athletics since I was a little kid, & I would hate to be excluded from playing other w.c. teams, especially since that there are going to be more and more w.c. teams in the US in the future.

Shawn