A Tribute to Gylie

From our B. V. Senior Men’s Curling Club

Our “behind the windows” segment will concentrate on comments made about the contribution that a particular member of our club has made over the years.

With this in mind, our executive has given me the great pleasure of presenting, on your behalf, a momento of appreciation to Gylie Wilcox.

I would like to say, a long overdue, few words before we ask him to come up.  Sorry Gylie.

First a little history.

Many of you don’t know this but Gylie was on the first executive of our curling club back in 1963.  Back when a curling club for our valley was just a dream. I know he doesn’t look that old but there you go. Gylie was, amongst other things, the secretary.

I understand that Gylie’s use of the English language was honed to a sharp edge when he was in the navy. Thus, his minutes of the meetings had to be censored.

He remained on this executive throughout the clubs many expansions providing a guiding hand, inspiration and the fear of god for anyone that thought about stopping before they were all done.

I’m told by a very reliable source that just before the construction of the fourth sheet started the crews were very tired and wanted to take a break. Gylie stepped up and said that if they lost their momentum now they may never get it back. The work continued and just look at the result. I could never figure out why they put in the fourth sheet and called it number one.

Gylie started curling with us in October, 1991. It wasn’t too long after that he was convinced to join our executive where he helped us along until just a few years ago.

As a matter of fact, Gylie and I retired from the executive at the same time. I understand that the remaining directors begged Gylie to stay on. I don’t remember hearing any such begging.

Over the years Gylie has been involved in many projects, too numerous to mention but these two are biggies.

We’re talking about “behind the windows” but at one time it was hard to see the house because of the large window support posts, the high counter and the rather large table ends.  Some of you might not remember this.

Gylie was a very large part of putting in narrow posts, lowering the counters and making the table ends smaller. We now have a clearer view of the “home end” house but what about the far end house?

At this point, I was about to say that Gylie was a large part of the drive to get cameras and monitors installed so we could better see the far end.

But the truth is that, in the beginning, Gylie was the only drive. I don’t know anyone that thought this to be a good idea but Gylie kept at it and the rest is history.  Love those monitors.

Ok, this is all great stuff but not really what we’re on about today. We want to talk about the attitude that Gylie displayed as a member of our club.

Gylie would repair anything and if he couldn’t, he would find someone who could. I’ve heard that he has small antennae in his ears that alert him whenever someone says “I guess we’ll have to buy a new one”. Not before Gylie has a crack at it, you won’t.

Anything that has been repaired in our club, from the compressor switchgear to our all important popcorn machine, has Gylie’s finger prints are all over it….and this attitude has been catchy.

We now have a retiree club that will step up and do what needs to be done without being asked. Now Gylie didn’t beat this into us but he did show us a very strong example to follow.

We also make great curling ice!

But we didn’t wake up one morning knowing how to do this. Our knowledge has evolved over the years and Gylie has been a very large part of that.

He was always hungry to find out what works and what doesn’t. 

I remember him running a machine that looked like it was out of star wars.  It was the width of a sheet, had cables and micrometers galore and was used to search out mounds and dips in the ice surface. When it found some Gylie would work hard to find out why they were there, then find out what to do about them.  Just one example in many.

So many of the improvements in our ice maintenance over the years were the result of Gylie’s intuitive approach.

For instance, Gylie always made it a point to bring the current ice crew to all seminars put on by so called experts, building our knowledge base.

Also if Gylie was at a brier and you wanted to find him all you had to do was look up the ice maker. Gylie was in his back pocket picking up tidbits of knowledge and telling stories of our beautiful valley.

But Gylie was not one to seek out credit for anything that he did.

I was president of our club for a couple of minutes and one day, when I was feeling full of myself, I told Gylie that we should display a list of the members that volunteered the most hours. I said that our club would not run as smoothly without them.

Gylie’s response was that sure some members are in a position to volunteer many hours but many hundreds of members are in a position to volunteer only a few hours now and again.

The club would not run smoothly without these hours. More than likely we wouldn’t have a club at all without these hours. Therefore, if we have a list we have to put everyone’s name on it because each hour is important.

That is the attitude that we have learned to appreciate.

OK here’s the real scoop

Curlers from our men’s and ladies clubs as well as visiting curlers always make a comment about how the senior men’s club does such a good job of maintenance and ice making.

We all smile and take the credit but we know the origin.

We want Gylie to know that we know.

So we are presenting him with this token of appreciation from us all.

He has made us look good for a long time.

But before Gylie comes up, I would like to read what is written on our presentation to Gylie.

Read plaque inscription…

OK Gylie, please come up and please don’t punch me in the nose.

Oh yes, Gylie also gets a free membership certificate.

Wow!  And you’re so young!