We’re all safely back home and already reminiscing about the great times had.
Until we can get sorting through the very many photos from the tour, here is a link to the Presentation played at the final evening banquet at The Country Club.tour-end. This is a Powerpoint document and would need to be downloaded to your laptop or desktop computer.
Select slide show and let it play.
Monday in US: a much-needed, relaxing day started with Morning Class at 8.45 am followed by breakfast – altogether spot on!
Couriers Bob Chandler and Russ Brown took us on a coach tour of Boston, with intervals on foot to keep us awake. Bloggy reckons the Scots new to this historic yet modern city were delighted to be in the sunshine and also found the 360 deg view from the viewing gallery of the Prudential building fascinating.
After lunch in an historic inn it was off to thee airport where, unusually, it took us two goes to find the correct terminal but we all actually got on to the plane home. Charges and denials failed to find who had put some non-conforming items into John Hodge’s carry-on bag but this kept up the good humour which has been a constant feature of our tour.
To all curlers in Scotland we say: all twenty of us are very proud to have been Team Scotland 2017 in the USA; we appreciate so very, very much everything that was done for us in the USA; and we’d encourage others to try go on a tour some time in their life.
To our nearest, dearest and loved ones: if any of us doesn’t keep a promise made when you you so readily accepted our decisions to go on this Tour don’t hesitate to ……oh dear this battery’s just about dead……..but we’re safely HOME!
Today we curled at Broomstones Curling Club, with president Brian McCafferty presiding.
Getting out of our coach in a wooded area to be met by the Lincoln minutemen and Bedford minutemen company in full historic costume. They stood with muskets aloft – then fired 3 volleys which was truly novel and unique. The minute men represent the soldiers sent to fight against the British in 1775. The parade on to the ice was led by fifes and drums in uniform.
As is so often the case Broomstones Club has members who have toured Scotland including Sam Williams in 2001 and Shelley Dropkin in 2016. They and any others not identified today send there best regards to those who hosted then on there tours of Scotland.
David Sillitoe joined Paul Badgero at the mic for the live streaming of our games here, something Broomstones has been doing since 2003. The member in charge is, like others who serve food bar etc etc, a volunteer.
Broomstones is home club of Bob Chandler our US courier for the second half of our tour. Mimi his wife made an excellent brownie for lunch. Both are real assets to there club and to Curling more widely.
Then on to The Country Club in Brookline Massachusetts. The facilities for many sports including golf, tennis, shooting, combined with a superb clubhouse are really impressive. Being there as guests reminds us of the strength of the relationship formed within curling. Anne Robertson, the ‘matriarch of US curling’, her husband Phil who led the proceedings at the final banquet for our tour and perhaps another half dozen curlers who had toured Scotland were present. Tributes were exchanged between the national teams, the Scots having accepted they were no more than 101 shots short of being able to take the Herries Maxwell Trophy home. But we do have enough memories of wonderfully happy times playing in 11 US States to earn us a few dinner invites. We are proud to be team Scotland.
An unexpected bonus was being invited to the bar at TCC right at the climax of the Super Bowl final, it went into overtime in which New England Patriots, Tom Brady threw the pass that won the Patriots the Vince Lombardy Trophy. The jubilation of the Patriots fans around us was enormous as this world stars home sits on the 3rd hole of this magnificant club.
Last night we reached Cape Cod Curling Club at 09.00pm. It was dark but the evening was lit up for us by the 40-strong honour parade who met us with brooms aloft and big smiles. Cape Cod CC is in a semi-rural setting, with three sheets.
The members had prepared a pizza supper, which was perfect after a long coach journey. Russ Lemcke who had toured Scotland in 2012 gave the formal welcome before we were taken to the homes of our overnight hosts. Home hosting is a key feature of Tour, and the good folk of Cape Cod did us proud. Imagine having a hostess who did many years as a stunt flyer, still keeps a plane in her garage along side the family car and who has direct access to the runway of the local flying club! No doubt there will be more stories of similar surprises as we tourists share our memories.
Anne Dewees told us how the club had been conceived and built. The watch words for this were commitment and dedication: the result is a great venue, sustained by its members who voluntarily work hard on and off the ice. Cape Cod recently staged the NCC Men’s senior championship. Its season ends in spring but they open up in July for their five weekend Summerspiel, the oldest and largest in North America.
The lunch provided, prepared and served by volunteers was a triumph by any standard.
Amount the notables who played against us were Pete Mitchell, 1992 tourer and CEO of the 2006 world men’s curling championships in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Club member Cathy Offinger took us all on a wonderful tour of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute: see http://www.whoi.ed.
Alongside all of the above we were entertained by a 5 man group, singing in close harmony. Our choirmaster introduced us by promising we too might sing in 5 parts but not always harmoniously!
My Lord Judge MacIntyre convened a court for Cape Cod members and tourists. The last act was a broom stacker session in which the ladies probably came out with less spill than some tourists. They won’t be reminded of that often – not much.
How to sum up our Cape Cod experience? Being so open hearted, and enjoying fun as much as we do, you made this an exciting and memorable experience which we hope some of us will re-live by coming to your summer bonspiel.
Our bus driver for the second half of the tour has been Jason Deprez who also hails from Sheboygan Wisconsin. Like Dave Kirchstein, Jason drove the last Scottish tour around the same route in 2007. He dropped us off at Syracuse for our flight to Washington and made his own way to meet up with us again at Philadelphia. It was pretty challenging meeting some of the travel schedule but he got us there. Excellent driving through the snowy Cleveland area!! It has been really well appreciated by all of us.
Once he drops us at Boston for the flight home, he’ll be able to start heading home himself. Hope you get to do the next tour too Jason. Thanks.
Bob has been with us since the swap-over at Saint Paul and has been our courier on the second leg of the tour. His home curling club is Boston CC and we’ve really enjoyed him being with us as we’ve travelled back into his home territory. Our luck seemed to change a wee bit with his arrival but unfortunately couldn’t be sustained.
Bob made the last tour to Scotland in 2012 and it has been really great that he has been able to guide us in our trip. He knows what is involved with a tour and he has been an immense help to us all, keeping us to the very tight schedule and making sure all the tour admin is kept ship-shape. We’ll soon be at the tour end and have to say our farewells but in the meantime, thanks Bob . You’ve been a star. Cheers!
In the first hour on the coach we saw quite a bit of the New York skyline. At Plainfield New Jersey the Harvey and Dickson teams were dropped off to play. The Plainfield Curling club was organised in 1963 and funded primarily by Canadian ex-patriots. The three remaining teams carried on North for another 75 minutes to Ardsley, New York State. Ardsley is a three sheet club founded in 1932 and at one time was home to the St Andrews Curling club. Rob Astorino, County Executive for Westchester gave us a Proclamation “February 3, 2017 to be 2017 Royal Caledonian Curling Club Scots Tour Team recognition day in Westchester County”.
At lunch in the magnificenct Bronxville Field Club three lucky teams were honoured and appreciative guests of George Austin who toured Scotland in 2001 and was the US Courier when Scotland toured in 2007. He greatly values his Scottish connection and sends warmest regards to the many Scots he has met over the years. George’s distinguished personal guests at lunch included Kay Sugahara, a member of the US and World Curling Halls of Fame.
This blogger has so far stayed away from comment on a game, but it can be reported that today Gary Rutherford was complimented on having ‘slayed the dragon’ by beating the Ardsley team skipped by multiple champion Martin Sather with Ardsley Club President Joe Shaloub as third.
At 4.30pm we reluctantly left the Bronx to travel on to Cape Cod. Another 5 hour coach journey. Ugh!!!
On our foot tour of Philadelphia, with guide we saw and heard the story of many recent and old features of the city including the Liberty Bell and sites of significance dating back to the 18th century.
Then on to Bucks County Curling Club in the area between metropolitan Philadelphia and its suburbs. In 2010 its members acquired sole use of the building and provide curling for 11 months of the year. Bucks County now has 150 active and enthusiastic members. Quite a few go to bonspiels as far away as San Francisco. We found the ice, made and maintained by a team of members, good after the first few stones.
One of the features of the building is the hecklers bench. Bill Arnot, John Hodge, Jim Ramsay and Ian Young had a bye and were highly focal at the side of the rink. Could that catch on in Scotland?
The welcome we got at Bucks County was open-hearted and that feeling stayed with us all the time we were there. On our way into the dinner we lost our sense of direction and reputation when we walked past the bar to derision of the US curlers. Within seconds the bar was spotted and had another excellent meal and entertainment.
Our singing for Bucks County and friends including Herb Kupchik, was good and we think we merited the applause. Malcolm MacAskill has since said it was a “partial standing ovation” something he may care to describe in more detail…. or maybe not.
Day 21 was interesting and most enjoyable in many ways: the tour of Philadelphia, the enthusiasm at Bucks County, the company at dinner-and the sunshine. Well done everyone.
We had to be back at the Utica rink by 03.00am. This meant we had little time to spend at home with our overnight hosts before they drove us on new snow roads back to the coach. Back at the club our sincere thanks go to each Utica member who provided transport, coffee and donuts for us at that time of day.
We flew from Syracuse to Washington DC and then on by coach to Potomac, arriving at 08.45am. The 2007 Scottish men’s tour were here and Potomac is very proud of the connection.
Experience had taught us that the clubs we visited would have a fair number of players to be reckoned with. At Potomac one of these was Eric Clawson, father of two sons in the US nationals competition. Bill Byers met with Bruce Black whose son Dan attended Aberdeen Uni, and played in the team with Bill’s son Rory. This is one of the coincidences that make the Curling world a smaller, friendlier place.
Bob Pelletier, chair of the Potomac tour committee and Linda Murphy, Potomac President, gave the formal introduction and recognised the importance of its big family of volunteers.
After lunch the coach took us a tour of Washington DC with an excellent guide. The mix of walking and bus time kept us awake despite sleep deprivation. Early to bed was an essential for most of us…….
Alan Roe has helped a lot with getting recent blogs on to our site while the blogger’s notepad failed on several occasions.