Heading to the Europeans, but aiming for the Olympics
We heard that Ross Paterson, brought up in the village, is enjoying success at the highest level of Scottish curling. His team won the right to represent Scotland at the European Curling Championships to be held in Glasgow in November. We wanted to find out more.
Q: Why are you taking an 18 month sabbatical from your job – how did that happen?
I work for East Dunbartonshire Council and the opportunity to take a career break is in my contract. It’s something that I had considered before, but after we won the Scottish Championship it just felt timing wise that I wouldn’t have a better opportunity to maximise my opportunity to get represent GB at Pyeong Chang, South Korea, in 2018. I said to myself that I wanted to look back at this Olympic campaign with no regrets, it’s still going to be very tough to qualify as the strength of Men’s teams in British Curling currently is very strong but the career break has allowed me to train full time and put myself in the best position possible. I’m very lucky that I have the support of UK Sport, the Scottish Institute of Sport and British Curling who make all of this possible.
Q: How old were you when you started curling and any memories of the Drimsynie Curling Rink?
My family moved to Lochgoilhead in 1990 when I was 6 and I don’t think it was long at all after that when I first tried Curling. The children in the village at that time were encouraged to start Curling and we were very fortunate to have enough people interested to form a boys and girls team. We were also lucky to have great members of the Curling club at Drimsynie at that time who coached us every week and even took us to compete in various junior competitions throughout Scotland. Mike Dimmer had a massive influence on those who started Curling at the same time as me and his passion for the sport was infectious and certainly rubbed off on us all! Other coaches at that time included Len Gow, Barry Cullen and Alex Burgess who I all have very much to thank, and also Ewan Chrystal who had me in his Tuesday night league team! I always remember that the Tuesday night league clashed with football training at Dunoon Grammar and my Football coach warned me at the time that if I missed football training for Curling then I would only start as a substitute on the bench… looking back I’m very happy that I chose Curling over Football!
Q: What championships are you proudest of winning?
This is a difficult question as there’s still a lot I want to achieve in the sport but the Scottish Championship this year was very special. I feel like it’s been a long time coming but to follow it up with qualification for the European Championships in November has shown the quality of our team.
Q: Curling is now such an international sport. What are some of the countries you’ve competed in?
Curling is a sport which has always allowed for travel and is partly the reason why I love it so much. I consider myself to be very lucky as we spend a lot of time on the road every year. A typical season will include travel to Switzerland and Canada a number of times but can also include countries like USA, Germany, Italy, Russia, Norway, Sweden and as far as China. We’re travelling to Japan for the first time in December for a new event which I’m really excited about.
Q: Introduce your team. They seem to have good pedigree’s.
They certainly do!
At lead we have Hammy McMillan Junior, son of Hammy McMillan – 5 time European Champion and 1999 World Champion. I curled with Hammy senior for three years and qualified for the Europeans in Switzerland with him in 2010. Hammy Junior travelled to watch us there so it’s nice to continue the story now together. He’s more like my wee brother than a team mate!
At third we have Glen Muirhead, son of Gordy Muirhead and brother to Eve and Thomas. There’s too many achievements between this family to mention but Glen is a great team mate and we’ve been in the same team now for 5 seasons. His younger brother Thomas was in our team two seasons ago but now plays for Kyle Smith who has another team in British Curling also pushing for Olympic qualification.
Tom Brewster is our skipper and was part of the Olympic team that won silver at the 2014 Olympics. Tom also won the Scottish Championship as skip in 2011/12 and won a silver medal at the World Championships both of these years.
Our Coach is Mike Harris who was the Canadian skip at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and won the silver medal. Mike also commentates for one of Canada’s biggest sports tv channels, Sportsnet, and combines this with coaching our team. Mike has such a great understanding and experience of the game that has proven very valuable to us since we started working together last year.
Q: How special will it be representing Scotland when the Europeans are being held in Glasgow.
It’s going to be very special I have absolutely no doubt about that! As I mentioned before I love travelling but to have the chance to represent your country at an International event in your own country is something that not many people get to experience. The fact that it’s in my hometown and the Braehead Arena makes it even that little bit more special. Our first job is to finish in the top 7 to ensure a qualification spot for Scotland at the World Championships which are being held in Edmonton in April 2017 but we’ll be working very hard to be in the mix at the end of the week pushing for medals. Standing on the podium in front of my family and friends would be a dream come true without sounding too cheesy!
Q: What is your goals in the sport going forward?
Medals! Plain and simple, gold one’s preferably! I feel like I’m improving as a player every year and gaining valuable experience at the top level which I believe will enable me to achieve my goals. The ultimate goal is to be an Olympic champion, that’s the motivation that pushes you to train every day but when I sit back and look at the bigger picture I just consider myself to be extremely fortunate to be in the position that I’m in and I’m very grateful for it.
If you would like to support Ross and his team, the 2016 European Curling Championships are being held at Braehead Arena, Glasgow 18 – 26 November.