Uttara Despande and Sandra Walker posing as 2019 Canadian Women’s Stick Curling Champions in Cornwall, P.E.I.
HALIFAX — Everyone has a story and Uttara Deshpande’s is truly a remarkable one.
Spoiler alert: it comes with a uniquely Canadian twist.
“I’m proud of myself and my family,” said Deshpande. “They’re the ones pushing me.”
Her modesty aside, Deshpande has always pushed herself; in life, in her travels and on the ice.
Deshpande’s Canadian story begins in 1983. Born in India, she immigrated with her husband to Canada, where they raised their two sons in Nova Scotia. She says as a family, they quickly adapted to life in their new country. They made friends, enjoyed the culture, her husband carved out a successful career and as a family they quickly adopted an appreciation for local sports. One sport that caught Deshpande`s attention was curling.
“It looked easy when I saw it on the TV,” said Deshpande. “But ice made me nervous.”
She decided to try it, without much initial success.
“As soon as I saw the ice, I was just frozen. Literally my coaches were holding me up to get up,” said Deshpande. “I knew this is not going to work for me.”
Pushing those doubts aside, she persevered. Deshpande signed up for curling lessons and she joined her husband for early morning practices — always striving to improve. In time, her peers began to take notice. Deshpande was getting better. Her hard work was starting to pay off.
“She never gives up,” said Sandra Walker, who curls with Deshpande at the Glooscap Curling Club in Kentville, N.S. “She practices and practices and practices and always wants to improve.”
Sport stories often come equipped with turning points. Deshpande’s pivotal moment in curling was being introduced to Stick Curling, which allows curlers to use a stick to send the rock down the ice, instead of the traditional method of delivering curling rocks while sliding low to the ice. The switch to the stick was a game-changer for Deshpande.