#MIKidsCan: Curling Superstar Shares Positive Message with Traverse City Students

Pursuing a sport she loved as a youth didn’t always make Debbie McCormick popular.

The four-time Olympic curler was teased because curling wasn’t considered a mainstream sport when she was growing up in Madison, Wisconsin.

“I’m so glad that I stuck with it,” McCormick said. “If there’s something that you love, stick with it.”

Following your dreams and pursuing goals – even if they’re unpopular – was one of the main messages McCormick delivered to middle school students at Grand Traverse Academy last week. McCormick was in Traverse City to compete in the first annual Cherry Bombspiel tournament, held April 24-26. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan was the main sponsor of the event.

Debbie McCormick
Debbie McCormick

Students at the academy were treated to an assembly featuring McCormick as the culmination of a weeklong curling unit. Students learned the basics of the game using curling stones with special wheels at the bottom to simulate play on their gym floor.

Introducing kids to a wide range of physical activities is something the school strives for, explained physical education teacher Kevin York. He said his 7th– and 8th-grade students really embraced curling.

“It was just great to see the excitement level for the game,” he said.

Seventh-graders Jordan Burnham, 13, and Zach Dix, 13 said they were surprised by how much they enjoyed curling. Both mentioned the fact that the sport helped facilitate a lot of good teamwork.

Curling4“I liked that we were all encouraging each other when we played,” Burnham said.

“You have to communicate with each other to know when to sweep,” Dix added.

McCormick also talked to students about the important role that physical fitness and healthy eating play in her success as a curler.

“I’m excited to be part of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s #MIKidsCan Campaign and I encourage you to all focus on staying active and healthy,” she encouraged students in attendance.

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Photo credit: Julie Bitely

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