The man who wanted to Curl in Orange County
I think I mentioned earlier that I didn't start Curling until someone brought Curling to Orange County, California.
I'd looked, but it wasn't until I saw a little tiny mention of classes in Westminster that I came to give it a try, and got the bug.
All clubs, no matter what the hobby start the same way.
They start with a single person. Someone who wants it bad enough to track people down, to get people on board. In the case of a Curling club, they have to find ice time, get rocks, brooms, temporary sliders, hacks, scoreboards. To find people who will come some distance to teach the first classes. To get the first league started, and to make sure there are trophies for the first winners.
Once the club is started, there is a period where that one person quite effectively is the club -- a benevolent dictator who makes things happen. Someone to make sure the trains run on time.
In those early days, before the club becomes "democratic" they have to take the blame and put up with the flak.
They make mistakes, and they learn, and they keep people coming back for more.
I missed those first Learn to Curl classes, and that first league. I didn't know anyone when I stepped on the ice for my first League game (the second OCCC League).
I didn't know who that big guy with the loud voice was, but it was his sheer will that brought Curling to Orange County, and made it possible for me to Curl.
His name was Richard Ramirez, and without him, there would be four curling clubs in California instead of five.
He took a bunch of non-curlers (plus a few veterans) and in the first year, our club took a team to the USA Curling Club Nationals.
When the club organized, Richard was elected the first OCCC President, helping through bumpy transition from Dictatorship to Democracy.
He put up a lot from me while I was going through a very difficult time -- because he was my friend.
Richard passed away on June 22nd.
I don't know if they Curl in Heaven, but if they don't, I'm sure they'll start soon.
Good Curling, Rich.