Rocque skipping class so he can curl

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 6:32 AM ET

Marcel Rocque knows he'll miss his kids. For the past several seasons, the lead for Randy Ferbey's two-time world champion curling team had a tough time balancing his day job as a phys. ed teacher at Riverbend junior high and his passion for the game of curling.

Curling's won out for now and Rocque has taken a six-month leave of absence starting Oct. 1.

"I'm going to miss the job a lot,'' said Rocque. "Not because of the lack of money but because of the kids I won't be able to interact with.''

Ferbey team's decided to devote all their time to curling in the leadup to the 2005 Olympic Trials in Halifax. They'll be playing 12 spiels in the next 13 weeks.

"It isn't a situation I had a lot of choice in,'' said Rocque, who started his teaching career in 1996. "I had to negotiate quite hard to get this opportunity.''

Ferbey's team headlines the $24,000 Shamrock Classic, the first event of the Alberta Curling Tour, which wraps up on Sunday.

The event is the first of a series of bonspiels designed by the Alberta Curling Federation to qualify two teams for the revamped 12-team 2005 provincials.

As defending champ, Ferbey's team is already in, along with Calgary's John Morris, the provincial leader in the Canadian Team Ranking System.

It had been an agonizing time for nearly a year since Rocque was notified by his employer that he would be unable to give Rocque all the time he needed to pursue his curling career.

"It was a stressful decision to make,'' said Rocque. "I still have to support a family. Despite all the money we can make curling, there's never a guarantee.

"I actually told my wife (Raylene) maybe I'd won enough and maybe it's time I packed it in and focus more on my family and my career.

"Her words were quite reaffirming. She said, 'When you're 55 or 60, are you going to be happy that you kept your job or are you going to regret a potential chance to be an Olympian and represent your country at the Olympic Games?' ''


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