PICTOU – In his first full season of curling, Pictou’s Devin Forbes never expected to win a provincial championship or to be heading to a national championship.
Last weekend that was the case for Forbes, as his team captured the Nova Scotia championship being played at the Halifax Curling Club. The team is mostly based out of Lakeshore Curling Club in Lower Sackville, with Forbes being the lone member from outside the area. He said after taking part in a clinic at his home club, the New Caledonian Curling Club in Pictou, that instructors Trendal Hubley-Bolivar and Debbie Earle asked him to join their team.
“I said sure when they asked me to play because I didn’t have enough people around here to start up a team and I knew I’d learn a lot from them,” he said.
The team will travel to Ottawa in March for the 2013 Canadian wheelchair curling championship as the provincial representative. He said he has never won something with this much meaning to it and that he feels privileged to be a part of it.
“No, it wasn’t something I expected to happen at all and it was quite a surprise,” he said. “We curled really well and it was a shock to me to realize I will be going off to Ontario to participate in a national event. It took a little while for it to sink in.
“We just went into it with the knowledge that if we played our game the way we knew we could play that we would have a chance and we did that successfully.”
Forbes said what he has learned the most from his team this year is about the strategy after trying out the game last year and understanding the general aspects of it.
“I’ve learned a lot about the strategy, but also learned more technical parts to it to make me smoother and have better form,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot better with my delivery as well as knowing what they’re going to be asking for.”
He also said that in preparing for the national event, in which Hubley-Bolivar and Earle have national experience, he’s now learning what to expect. Forbes said he will have to work at not getting distracted in a larger venue with more people around.
“They told me to expect a large number of wheelchair users, which is usually uncommon to see all in one place,” said Forbes. “It will be a larger venue with more people and will likely be a little louder as well. Other than that they said everything should be fine. Having been there before they will be relaxed and will help me to stay relaxed as well.
“I find it hard to keep focused at times – getting a little excited about everything going on – and just enjoy the atmosphere.”
Forbes said he couldn’t have done it without his family’s support. He said they helped him get to Halifax for games and practices throughout the season, which allowed him to have the opportunities he’s had.
He encourages others interested in trying curling to call the New Caledonian Curling Club and to get in touch with him through the club. He hopes more people will get out to try it in the future.