Carol Hampsey started curling “too many years ago to remember,” she says – but when pressed, suggests it was probably in 1965 or 1966, at the Berwick Curling Club.
She began her competitive curling career throwing first stones for a team skipped by Betty Adams. “In later years,” she says, “I usually played the mate position, as I didn't really like skipping.” This, she points out, “was left to Elaine Prall or whoever else would have me on their team.”
While the Berwick teams Hampsey was a part of did well in Western Counties and provincial playdowns, many of the Berwick senior curlers didn't have the time she had to devote to the sport.
When she got a call from Yvonne Martin of Coldbrook asking her to compete in the Nova Scotia senior championships, Hampsey agreed – and the rest, as they say, is history.
In 2002, Martin, Hampsey, Donna MacKinnon and Allison Weagle teamed up to win the Nova Scotia seniors, and competed at the Canadian championships in St. Thomas, ON.
Team Martin, she recalls, “made a fair showing” at nationals – “big stuff for a little old curler from Berwick, NS” – but the truth was, she and Martin were just getting started.
Hampsey continued to curl with Martin in competition, while also curling recreationally out of Berwick.
In 2003, Martin, Hampsey, Sandy Walker and Allison Weagle teamed up to win another provincial senior title, and again competed at nationals, this time in Lethbridge, AB.
That same year, Martin also entered a team in the provincial Masters (60-and-over) competition, and with Carol Romkey, Hampsey and Donna MacKinnon, captured that championship as well - for Martin and Hampsey, two titles in the same year!
Advancing to nationals in Assiniboine, SK, Hampsey unfortunately fell on the ice during a game and broke her wrist, forcing her to miss the remainder of the competition.
In 2004, Martin, Hampsey, Gwen Merriam and Barb Marsland entered the provincial senior playdowns and won again - Hampsey's third straight provincial senior title.
The 2004 nationals were in Kelowna, BC, “and though we didn't win, it was a great privilege to meet curlers from across Canada competing at all these championships.” Martin remembers Hampsey as the ultimate teammate. “She mated for me at many provincial tournaments and at four national championships,” she says. “She was always a 'skip's delight' to have on your team.”
Many curlers, she points out, “tend to blame the broom being in the wrong place when they miss, but Carol was the exception.
“As soon as she released her rock, she would yell 'inside' or 'outside' to let the sweepers know whether to sweep or not, even if she was only off by an inch. This is a quality very seldom found in most curlers, and I appreciated it very much.
“She also had a deadly takeout, and got us out of plenty of touchy situations.” Hampsey, Martin points out, “was always the same, no matter where we travelled in this wonderful country. Her demeanour never changed, even when she broke her wrist and needed surgery two and a half hours away from where we were curling.”
Today, Hampsey continues to curl recreationally, but not competitively. As she points out, “we all get old far too quickly.”
The Berwick Sports Hall of Fame is pleased to induct, in the Athlete category, Carol Hampsey.
Inducted June 2012