Most athletes can pinpoint a time when they fell in love with their craft. When something about a sport connected with them on a level that started growing their love for it. The day they committed to pursuing their passion and never looking back.
For Makiya Noonan, that day was the first day she walked into her school gym in North Gower, Ontario, to find Rocks & Rings on the schedule.
“I was young, so I don’t remember it clearly, but I do remember kneeling down and pushing the rocks towards the mats, trying to get them in the middle, and how much fun it was when you got it.”
That afternoon, Makiya came home from school and told her parents that she wanted to try curling.
“I called around and found a curling club in the next town over, the Richmond Curling Club,” said Kristin, Makiya’s mom, who added “Curling was not on our radar. I didn’t curl, my husband didn’t curl. We’re a sporty family and play many sports, but curling was not one of them. So I told them, ‘I have a 7 year old who wants to curl. What do I do?’” Sadly, the Little Rocks program at Richmond Curling Club started with kids age 9 and up. “They said they would take Makiya in the program if their registration didn’t fill up, but we decided to let it be because of the age difference. She was a tiny 7 year-old.”
But Makiya didn’t forget about curling. Two years later, the Rocks & Rings program came back to her school again, and once again she returned home and told her parents she wanted to curl.
“She was 9 by then, so we went back to Richmond and signed her up, and that was it,” said Kristin. “She did their Little Rock program for a couple years and played in bonspiels in the region. She just loved it.”
Later, the Noonan family moved to Summerside, PEI, where Makiya joined the Silver Fox Curling Club, and this year is also curling out of the Cornwall Curling Club. She has enjoyed plenty of success with her new teammates on the island. “We won the Under 13 Provincial Curling Championships in 2019 and 2020,” Makiya said, adding that she also enjoys playing Mixed Doubles. “And we were going to play Under 16 Provincials this year, but they were cancelled.” Makiya says her goals for the future include working hard to earn the right to represent PEI at the Canada Winter Games, and winning the Under 21 Junior Curling Provincials someday.
When asked what it is about curling that she enjoys so much, she credits the culture of the sport. “You really get to bond with people. It’s not an aggressive sport. You get to really know your teammates.” From a parent’s perspective, Kristin also cites etiquette and sportsmanship as a positive aspect of Makiya’s involvement in curling.
Makiya is now joined up with teammates and coaches that have experience with high performance curling. She hopes that this will help her continue to improve as she works towards her future curling goals and one day inspiring kids to start curling just like she did all those years ago when Rocks & Rings came to North Gower Marlborough Public School.
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