Charlie Thompson, a competitive curler and freshman at Memorial High School, has been out on the ice ever since he was 3 years old. His father, Jeff Thompson, introduced him to curling when he was young, having picked up the sport soon after Charlie was born. At age 8, Charlie began to practice curling more seriously, and joined the junior program with the Eau Claire Curling Club on Saturday mornings. Eventually, Charlie started to play in adult curling leagues with his dad and other much older players. “I can’t think of many other sports that provide the opportunity for a father and son to play in the same competitions at his age,” Jeff says.
When he was just 11 years old, Charlie played in his first out-of-town curling tournament (called a bonspiel) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a fond memory of his dad’s. Having played competitively for three years, Charlie has been to a number of curling camps, and now plays for a curling team based in Bemidji, Minnesota. In December, Charlie and his team won the Minnesota U18 Championships in Duluth, and they also qualified for the Junior National Championships after winning an event in Grand Forks, North Dakota. While Charlie’s team did not advance past the Junior National Championships in Detroit, Michigan, they were slated to participate in the U18 National Championships in late February.
Charlie practices after school and on weekends, and he plays in various leagues a couple of nights a week. Curling has been something Charlie and his dad can enjoy together, but it has impacted other parts of his life as well. Though curling takes up a lot of his time, “Working with a team and the sheer amount of focus needed to play at a high level translates clearly over to school and life,” Charlie says.