From the classroom to the house: MSU's curling professors

By Michael Linnell
University Communications Director

MINOT, N.D. – Their reasons for playing are as varied as the classes they teach.

Minot State University professors Dan Ringrose, Joseph Jastrzembski, Erik Anderson, Charlie Young, Sarah Aleshire, and Ernst Pijning make up two teams with Minot State ties who play in Minot Curling Club leagues.

They play for fun, for exercise, and to escape their everyday lives, but in the end, it’s the comradery that keeps them coming back.

“We might win, we might lose, we have a beer, we sometimes solve the world’s problems, most of the time we don’t,” said Ringrose, who serves as the skip for both teams. “It’s something to look forward to. On Monday, it’s curling night. There are days when I’m in a meeting or something and I’m thinking, I get to curl later tonight and that’s nice.”

Jastrzembski and Ringrose were the first two to start playing. Jastrzembski was attending an event in Winnipeg — a hotbed for the sport — the first time he was able to get on the ice.

“We wandered over to a rink and asked if we could throw some stones,” he recalled. “We really didn’t know what we were doing at all, I was surprised they even let us. We got back to the hotel room and it was on television and suddenly it was like ballet. It was 360 degrees from what we were doing. I remember thinking, ‘my god, so that’s how it’s done.’”

Once they found there was a rink in Minot, they had officially caught the bug.

“We did what all good academics would do, we bought a book,” Ringrose said. “We didn’t ask someone here who has been doing it for 40 years how to do it, we bought ‘Curling for Dummies,” and traded it around. Those weren’t great years (in league play).”

But the core group began to get better. Under the tutelage of Gordie Johnson — a longtime member of the Minot Curling Club — they formed their own team and a few years later, “weren’t necessarily winning, but not embarrassing ourselves,” according to Jastrzembski.

“By the way, we have won that (the C Bracket) before,” he added. “At the Blue Rider, over the women’s restroom door, there’s a picture of us. The Blue Rider has been our sponsor over the years and have been very good to us.”

“He (Johnson) would play in cowboy boots,” Ringrose said. “He was so patient and told us what to do and what we were doing wrong. It was fun learning from him. For the longest time, when we didn’t really know what we were doing, teams were nice, they were usually like, no, that’s not exactly how you should be doing it.”

The nightly foursomes changed over the years and currently includes two teams, with Ringrose and Jastrzembski, both from the history department, being joined by music professors Anderson and Young on the Monday team.

“Dan and Joseph have invited me on occasion over the last decade to try it, but it took a 28-year-old from Mississippi to get me here,” Anderson said referring to Young. “Charlie was opening it up for practice so I tried it. Nor pressure, just come out and play. My wife (Dianna) hates the cold, so I think she hung up her broom in five minutes. But I liked it. What I really liked is it is opposite over everything else in my life.

“I’m either the inspiring force, or the leading force, making things happen, or doing all of the planning to make things happen. With curling, I’m not the skip, I’m the lead, there’s no pressure, no responsibility for anything except to just enjoy the experience. If I have a terrible shot, Joseph will put some in there and it will be OK.”

Young, the team’s youngest and newest member, has probably taken to the sport more than any of the Minot State professors.

“Charlie has been an incredibly fast learner,” Jastrzembski said. “He’s become really good.”

“He’s on two teams, travels to every bonspiel, watches it on television — he loves it and he’s a kid from Mississippi,” Anderson added. “He looks really smooth on the ice.”

While Jastrzembski enjoys curling on Monday nights, he remembers a time when Minot State would sponsor its own event.

“Minot State used to have a day here, kind of like a bonspiel,” he said. “We had some Canadian students who had played before and some students who had never seen it before. It was fun. I would like to see us bring that back.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 04/01/19   

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