With hometown heroes, Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, becoming the world’s most decorated figure skaters during the 2018 Winter Olympics, Ilderton has had plenty to celebrate.
And now, a member of the Ilderton Curling Club is competing at the Paralympics. Mark Ideson is the skip for Canada’s wheelchair curling team, and has been able to inspire many within his circle, including fellow wheelchair curler, Wayne MacDonald.
MacDonald had tried several other wheelchair sports in the city and nothing quite clicked for him. But when he threw his first rock down the ice, he knew something more was there.
“When I got to Ilderton and tried the curling program, something about it just kind of stuck with me. So I thought I would see where it went, and as the weeks went on I realized how much I enjoyed it, and I knew that I could see myself pursuing something like this.”
And after he decided to pursue curling, he became very good at it. “There’s just something about it… about the social sport that it is, about hitting the perfect shot and placing the rock exactly where you want it to be. It’s addictive, I will be here and throw rock after rock because I always want to make my next shot better than the last.”
This mentality has paid off for MacDonald, too.
After clinching the 2018 provincial title, MacDonald will be representing Team Ontario at the National Championship in Alberta.
And this is not the biggest stage MacDonald dreams of making it to one day.
With a grin, MacDonald says there is a Paralympic dream in his mind as well. “I got to speak with Mark Ideson and that was what opened my eyes to the dream of becoming a paralympian… I thought it sounded pretty cool.”
MacDonald and his teammates will be making their way to Alberta in just a couple of weeks, and they are fully aware that the competition will be tough.
“All of the teams that will be at Nationals, they’re the best. But we also know that we’re the best. We take it one game at a time, one end at a time. That’s how we keep our focus and not get caught up in what the scoreboard tells us.”
With hopes of returning home to Ontario with a championship title, it’s the mindset Team Ontario has about their skills that will bring them success.
“We’ve worked for this. We deserve to be there, and we will show up.”