Curling queen ready to call shots

Shawn Kellmer, Reporter

Alison M. Piatt, pro-rata instructor in the history and government departments, she is capitolizing her love for the sport of curling and will officiate the USA National Curling Championships at the Iceworks skating rink in Aston, PA.

Piatt will serve as the game timer, but she told the United States Curling Association that she is willing to volunteer in any capacity.

She is considered a registered curling official, having passed the level one and level two courses for officiating and completing the necessary class work and first aid certification.

She must submit documentation of required practical experience to the USCA. She will complete her practical hours while volunteering at the Nationals, during which she has to be a game timer for three draws, otherwise known as games, at a USCA draw. Then a certified official must determine her timing jobs satisfactory.

Piatt’s love for curling came during grad school. “I watched curling on the CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Company] all the time when I was a master’s student at Bowling Green State University.”

She didn’t get the urge to play until a chance event. “In 2006, during the time of the Torino Winter Olympic Games, I ended up having emergency surgery while on vacation to visit my parents in Florida,” said Piatt. “During my recovery I watched as much curling as humanly possible at all hours of the day. One day I decided to see if there were any curling clubs at home, so I did a search and came upon the newly formed Scranton Curling Club.”

Piatt got in touch with Dave Cawley, co-founder of the club, and shortly after taking a lesson she became a member.

“Now we are called Anthracite Curling Club. We changed our name to make it more regionally appealing. You wouldn’t believe how many people from this area were instantly turned off, saying ‘I’m not driving to Scranton,’” said Piatt.

“I decided to train for officiating to help make me a better player and instructor. I also wanted to train to be an official because it opens the door to allow me to participate in the sport from a different perspective,” said Piatt. “The USCA instructor and official programs are all volunteer-based. By going through officials training, I will be able to lend my services to different types of curling events. Curling is a sport I am passionate about so I love volunteering and participating in any way I can.”

Officiating is not the only thing keeping Piatt busy in the world of curling. She serves as the President of the Anthracite Curling Club as well as advisor for the MU Curling Club.

“Right now my short term goal is to better my game, but I also want to volunteer more with the USCA,” says Piatt.

Piatt is recruiting students to experience the sport. Four students formed the The SGA-sanctioned club in conjunction with the ACC at The Ice Rink at Coal Street Park.

“I got into curling because I took Western Civ with Alison Piatt my freshmen year. She announced one day in class that she was a certified curling instructor and that there would be some ice time available where we could come out and try if we wanted to,” said Alyssa Leonard, president. “I thought it would be an interesting experience because how many people can say that they have been curling? I went one time and fell in love and continue to this day.”

The club’s Facebook page says it’s dedicated to send teams to college bonspiels , which are curling tournaments, something it has recently achieved.

“[Piatt] has such a strong passion for the sport itself that she has dedicated so much time to forming our club into something spectacular,” said Leonard. “Her hard work and dedication brought us to a bonspiel at the Philadelphia Curling Club in Paoli, PA over fall break and helped us to adopt the highway out front of MU.”

“She convinced me and several other students to come to a few Learn to Curls at the Coal Street rink where Alison gave us lessons,” said Dana Griesback, club secretary. “I ended up enjoying the sport so much that I decided to join the Anthracite Curling Club.”

Piatt said she is willing to not only teach the sport but even train people to become a players.

“Professor Piatt believes that anyone can curl and with her help you can,” said Perry Santosus, treasurer. “Anyone who joins curling starts out in the training process with Piatt. She will teach you everything that you need to know and all the proper techniques.”

One of the most important proprieties of curling is its respect for good sportsmanship. “The best thing about curling is that it’s a gentleman’s sport where the players call their own fouls. The officials don’t keep score, they agree on the score,” said Piatt.

For more information about the National championships visit 2012usacurlingnationals.com. For information on joining the MU Curling Club please email Allison Piatt at [email protected]