Full of hiss and vinegar

Team Ireland lead Isobel Fyfe (left) and 2nd Kathy Nixon sweep a shot during the opening draw of...

Team Ireland lead Isobel Fyfe (left) and 2nd Kathy Nixon sweep a shot during the opening draw of the 2007 World Senior Curling Championships in Edmonton on Sunday. (Sun Media/David Bloom)

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

They're two old biddies who have been around longer than coloured ice, rubber hacks, pebbling cans, flooding tubes, stone measurers and power ice shavers.

Ole Olson of Edmonton came up with all those curling inventions from 1939 onward.

Isobel Fyfe was born in 1933.

Kathy Nixon was born in 1934.

They're the two oldest curlers in the World Seniors Curling Championships at the Thistle.

They both play for the same team. And they're the front end. They're the second and lead, respectively.

They're the sweepers!

"I never realized we were the oldest," said Nixon.

"I thought I probably was," admitted Fyfe.

Heck, their alternate, Liz Knox, is the third oldest player involved in the lead-up event to the Ford World Curling Championships, which open here Saturday.

She was born in 1937.

JUST A HOOT

They curl for Ireland, actually live in Scotland, and they're all just a hoot - this team with an average age of 68.

They're just great old gals, full of hiss and vinegar.

Take Fyfe. She's been hissed at the Canadian Curling Association for years.

"It was Canada which moved the age of seniors from 55 to 50. Unfortunately the Royal Caledonian in Scotland listened to them.

"It should be 55. It's hard to beat these young 50-year- olds for a true senior, for somebody in their 70s."

Damn young whipper- snappers.

Yet you watch these two get up and down the ice with their brooms and, if it wasn't for Fyfe's white hair, you'd never know they weren't the, er, kids. Their get-up and go definitely hasn't gotten up and gone.

And they want to keep this going for a while longer yet, this well-preserved pair who one year made it to the semi-finals only to lose to Canada.

"My oldest son turns 47 this year, He's a curler and I'd like to play in a world seniors with him," said Fyfe.

"My youngest son is 45 and he played for Ireland at the European championships this past November," she added.

Fyfe points out she hasn't even been curling half her life yet. She only has 36 years in the sport.

"We feel like we're 21," said Nixon.

"It's lots of fun," said Fyfe, who remembers her first rock. "I had no idea what curling was, but I was convinced to go to a curling rink and take a lesson. I was hooked."

For Nixon, it was a different deal.

"It was a fun night for our women's institution. Mostly we did sewing and cooking. But one day they decided to curl and I went along."

"They had two people brought in to show us what to do. Now I'm a coach myself . About six years ago, after watching me play, my husband decided 'maybe there's more to this than meets the eye.'

"He was a rookie curler at 69 and a very good learner. He listened to everything I said."

The two played together in the original world seniors in 2000 in Glasgow, Scotland.

"It wasn't an official one yet. There were only five countries," she said.

This year 14 are involved. Ireland is a bit different than the others, though.

"None of the ladies live in Ireland," said Nixon. "But we're all Irish born and raised and all of Irish descent going way back."

These two both left Ireland to go to school in England as teenagers. They came back to Ireland to work for a while and then found better employment opportunities in Scotland.

'YOUNG COUNTRY'

"We are a very young country in curling. Our association wasn't formed until 1993. Two men from Ireland were competing outside the country in a bonspiel and decided there had to be more Irishmen curling out there somewhere," remarked Fyfe.

"We've gone out of our way to try and create opportunities to promote curling in Ireland. Once we were able to book time on outdoor ice pads in Dublin and Belfast, which were made for skating during the Christmas holidays," said Nixon.

You'd think a country that has that many rocks lying around would have had people throwing them on ice for years.


Videos

Photos