Halifax skip's old team back on the rocks

CHAD SCARSBROOK -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

The phone call "boggled" his mind.

On the other end of the phone was Barry Shearer, an old curling pal Earl Stephenson hadn't spoken with in five years. But that wasn't the surprising part.

It had been 15 years since the 70-year-old had been on the ice, but that didn't bother Shearer. The Halifax native knew what he had to do after a Canadian Curling Association meeting in the summer.

"I got to talking to the people from Manitoba, and I asked them when the bonspiel was on," Shearer recalled yesterday after stepping off the ice at Wildewood Curling Club as part of the MCA Bonspiel. "I thought what the heck. Maybe I'll give the guys a call."

He called old teammate Stephenson back in Winnipeg and then dialed Hartney's Keith Forbes, the "baby of the group" at 66.

Together, the three of them reformed part of the team that went 15-2 in the 1961 MCA Bonspiel. Their original lead passed away several years ago and was replaced Colin MacLeod, 68, who flew from Halifax with Shearer.

Shearer's had plenty of success in the sport, winning the Manitoba Schoolboy (now the junior championship) in 1955, as well as the men's (twice), senior (three times) and mixed championships in Halifax.

Today, Shearer works with the Nova Scotia Curling Association as a technical co-ordinator and master course conductor.

"I teach coaches how to coach," he explained.

He still curls a couple times a week, and it's hard to believe Shearer qualifies for masters status.

NEVER LOOKED BACK

"I just love to curl," said Shearer, who also enjoys kayaking and rowing in the summer. "Some say I don't look 71. Teaching is one of the reasons for that."

Shearer left for "God's country" in Halifax due to a job transfer in 1961. He's never looked back. He has five children, five grandchildren and has been married to wife Doreen for 48 years.

But perhaps nothing has been as constant in his life as the sport he loves.

Shearer's been curling for 60 years.

"Curling is a sport that you can start as young as six," he said. "My dad was 84, and he was still playing. It's one sport where you can never really get too old."


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