Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006 | The sport of curling registers in the consciousness of most San Diegans about once every four years, if that, when Olympics TV coverage reminds them about the little-known ice sport. Sunny December mornings here are a far cry – geographically and ideologically – from the frigid temperatures of Labret, Saskatchewan, Canada.
But Elliot Hicks, a Canadian born in Labret – population 173 – is trying to bridge that gap by organizing Canadian ex-pats and transplanted American Midwesterners into a curling league. The winter game, played on long, skinny sheets of ice, is more than a few people sliding rocks and sweeping brooms, he says. It’s a social phenomenon, a game for the sporty but athletically disinclined, a chance to find a little bit of winter in a place that sees near-perpetual sunshine.
Hicks, an M.I.T. alum in mechanical engineering, sat down with voiceofsandiego.org around a picnic table at La Jolla Shores one recent sunny morning to chat about the finer points of curling – including specialized shoes, gloves, and $5,000 concrete rocks – and being a Canadian in San Diego.
How long did you live in Labret?
Well, for about five years, and then I moved to a “city” of 1,800 people, and that’s where I lived until I went to school at M.I.T. (in Boston) when I turned 18.
Do you have kids, a family here in San Diego?