Friday, January 11, 2008

The colour of curling

After watching Glenn Howard on Little Mosque on the Prairie this week, it reminded me once again of just how white as sport curling is. Think to yourself – when was the last time you saw a person of colour on the ice?
I don’t think I’ve ever curled against an afro-Canadian person and I can recall seeing just a single such person. I think there was also a black woman who competed for the Russian team at one time. I have met many people of Asian descent on the curling ice. Of course the infamous Rudy Ramcharan is the only non-Asian visible minority to win the Brier. I thought golf was an awfully white sport but it’s nothing compared to curling.
Curling has done a poor job of expanding the sport beyond the traditional demographics. As such, the future is scary in this regard. According to Stats Canada, by 2015, those of European descent will be in a minority in Vancouver and Toronto.
I know the CCA has begun some pilot projects to encourage those from non-curling-traditional cultural groups to try the sport, but I’ve yet to hear how it’s going. It’s a great start and a very prescient move on the association’s behalf.
But it’s going to take a lot more than that to change curling’s demographic; the sport and all those who love it need to get a move on.

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