Josh Chetwynd grew up playing baseball but he’s now a member of Colorado’s best curling team.
“I played Division I college baseball at Northwestern University in the Big 10,” said Chetwynd. “After that I played a year of independent minor league baseball in the Frontier League. I happened to be born in England even though I grew up in the U.S. I played for Great Britain’s national baseball team for 10 years.
“I played baseball for a very long time. I had some knee issues. I was a catcher so I was looking for sort of a lifetime sport that I could play into my older age. Right around the time I started that inquiry the Denver Curling Center opened up.”
Chetwynd, a 45-year-old writer and author who lives in Denver, and three of his cohorts from the Denver Curling Club located at 14100 W. Seventh Ave. in Golden will be the first team in 20 years to represent Colorado at the USA Men’s National Curling Championships Feb. 11-18 in Everett, Washington, at the Xfinity Arena. The team includes
Darryl Sobering is the skip of Team Sobering which qualified for the nationals during the U.S. Men’s Challenge Round Jan. 5-8 in Blaine, Minnesota, by winning five straight games after losing the first two in the triple elimination event.
Other team members include the lead Chetwynd, the second Evan Jaffe and third Aaron Johnston.
Jaffe, a 30-year-old Sedalia resident and software designer, went to college in Hastings, Nebraska, but couldn’t pursue his interest in curling.
“There wasn’t an opportunity,” he said. “I moved back to Denver after college and had an interest in it and felt like doing it one day. Curling appealed to me because it’s a huge team sport and you heavily rely on other people. And also it is the strategy of the game. The way every game sets up is completely different.”
Johnston, 24, lives in Greenwood Village and is a civil engineer. He was introduced to curling during a gym class field trip when he was a fifth-grader in Wisconsin.
“I picked it up at a young age and it was just something I stuck with because I was pretty decent,” said Johnston. “Through high school I was fortunate enough to win two state championships in curling and continued on through college and do it here through college. I went to Marquette University.
“You can curl here in Denver, which is kind of unique because the nearest curling facility is over 700 miles away in Bismarck, North Dakota. So we’re kind of the Galapagos Islands of curling out here.”
Curling is predominately a Midwestern sport, but Team Sobering is the eighth-ranked team in the nation.
“We couldn’t be prouder of Darryl and his team,” said Denver Curling president Phil Moir. “They’ve been traveling all season, competing in tournaments across the United States, with the hopes of earning this spot. But at the same time, they play every week in the club and are right in the middle of our community.”
Sobering, a 40-year-old real estate broker who is a Broomfield resident, claims his team will probably be overlooked at the nationals.
“We have been the underdog all year in most of the binspiels we have play and fared very well,” said Sobering. “So I am hoping for more of the same. I feel it is about mindset and who is playing well that week. So if we keep this mindset we have now we will do great.”
Chetwynd claims teamwork can play dividends,
“We were unheralded, we weren’t expected to earn one of the four spots in nationals,” he said. “We played as a team together, we mastered our skills, it didn’t matter who we were playing because we performed up to our abilities. What I love about curling is that it is similar to baseball and similar to all sports. It is a real team game. What is unique about curling that is different from baseball, football and basketball, there is more emphasis on your team’s own performance.
“You are impacted by the performance of the other team in the way they throw the rocks and where they place them but they are not impacting my throw. That goes to a sport more like golf where you are really playing more against yourself. What is different about this than golf is your team is playing against itself, not just you individually as the thrower but your four guys are all playing against themselves.”