Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Meet Coach Bob Slater

21 September 2017

When Special Olympics BC – Fort St. John curling coach Bob Slater gets to the rink for practices, the athletes greet him with a flurry of high-fives.

“It’s like a party before you’ve even started!” Slater says.

Slater got involved with SOBC – Fort St. John’s curling program though his wife Lori, and he soon became the program’s Head Coach. He says he found coaching a little stressful at first, but he received great support from other members of his Local, and this helped him learn to have fun. Now, Slater says he is very satisfied with his decision to join Special Olympics, and working with the athletes has been a very rewarding experience.

Slater says coaching athletes is a lot of fun and their enthusiasm is contagious. His advice for new SOBC coaches is to not be afraid, because as long as you are honest with the athletes they will accept you.

When did you start with Special Olympics, and how did you get involved?

I started four years ago. My wife Lori was part of a wheelchair curling team in Alberta. Kim Turney, the SOBC – Fort St. John curling coach at the time, asked Lori if she would like to assist with the program. In short order, Lori went from assisting to coaching, then passed the position on to me.

What has been your most memorable Special Olympics experience?

Meeting the curling team members in public and getting hugs. I was shy at first and had to get used to this enthusiastic welcome.

What is your favourite thing about being involved with SOBC?

See above response.

What would you like others to know about SOBC – Fort St. John?

That maybe it should be more about fun than competition for some. I tried to get our team to follow the basic rules so we could play against SOBC – Dawson Creek’s team. It became stressful and there was a loss of commitment on all sides. We reverted back to focusing on fun and now it’s what we do. In the words of P. K. Subban, "Let’s have fun!"

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