First, lets get the name out of the way. The most frequently asked question is “why Reform?” Once most notably at the Windmill Competition in Rotterdam when our opposition offered us orange juice after the game because they thought we were a church team! The reason for the name is twofold, and we need to go back to Crossmyloof Ice Rink (Glasgow) and to 1980. There were amongst the members of the very old and very respected Carmunnock and Rutherglen C.C. a few younger members who were seriously unhappy about conditions in the south side ice rink. Sufficiently unhappy as to contemplate a move to the new ice rink bravely built by John Stevenson at Greenacres. There was much talk of frying pans and fires, but there was a world of a difference in attitude to the curlers and a real feeling of camaraderie between the management and the customers. This fresh attitude caused those who had come out of Crossmyloof and “Re-formed” at Greenacres to wonder if there wasn’t a better way to run club curling. There was – there is – and we found it. Reform had begun!
So what was so wrong about club curling that 20 people felt impelled to reform? The answer really is nothing much, if it works for you. Here however was a new club full of young competitive curlers. It was an opportunity to start from scratch. There really were very few areas in which review was needed, but they were absolutely crucial. The first was that, in our experience, curling clubs were run by committees, and these committees did not always reflect the needs of the curlers. Rather they reflected the needs of the committee! Solution? – Make the skips the committee, not just some of them but all of them. Generally clubs select teams, and very often the criteria is length of service rather than curling ability. We thought that this was wrong, so entry to Reform is by skip’s entry with his or her own team. Reform makes no stipulation as to the gender of its teams or its members. This means the skip has to take responsibility, but it means the four people playing together are doing so because they want to, and you don’t get much better motivation than that. Then you have to let the skips select a competition format which suits them. It can be a little unnerving watching a group of skips discuss the competition format. It is like inventing the wheel – every year! The competition structure which has become favoured over the years is a league of three or four divisions with promotion and relegation taking place mid-season. The first half league and the second half league are divided by a straight knock out cup. We also run a game at points, and a Pairs competition. Members of Reform must play in the leagues, and generally all play in the cup. There are two additional competitions in which teams may play (or four members from different teams might get together to play in these competitions). These are the “Outside cup” – a league/knock out game which is always played at an other ice rink, and the Challenge trophy, which can be played anywhere including out doors if appropriate. A Reform Club member will usually find him or herself playing in Club competitions three weeks out of four; slightly more if they are requested to play in Province or RCCC representative matches.
In general, did we get it right? Well in 29 years we have gone from 5 teams to 36. There has never been a year when we have not had a national champion from the Club. One year we provided the World Junior Champions, one year we had within our membership national champions from all three domestic curling countries Scotland England and Wales. Ireland did not have an association that year, but when it did, Reform provided champions. In recent years, of course we had chief amongst many accomplishments, four of the five Olympic Ladies Gold Medal winners. Rhona was immediate Past President of the Club at the time. Even coach Russell Keiller had a year with Reform in 1989. Yes, I think we got it right, but ask me again next year – after the next skips meeting!
Michael Burton (2009)