( l to r) Shelley Dropkin, proud mom; Stephen Dropkin, skip/captain; Korey Dropkin, vice; and Keith Dropkin, proud dad. Stephen and Korey, the 2012 US Junior National Champions, represented the US in the World Junior Championships held in Ostersund, Sweden.
By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Southborough – Shelley Dropkin is a human resources professional and director of human resources at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston. She is also a senior curler who was coach and alternate for the Team USA’s senior women who won bronze medals at the Senior World Championships in January in Sochi, Russia.
Dropkin’s curling journey began in 1981 when she was introduced to the sport by her (now) husband, Keith. At the time, Keith – who began curling as a student at Union College – had just returned from the Men’s Nationals in Fairbanks, Alaska. Intrigued by the sport, Dropkin asked him to show her a few moves, including how to “deliver the stone” and “sweep a rock” and before long she was hooked.
Dropkin is a member of the Broomstones Curling Club in Wayland where she participates on several curling teams. Two of the teams are league teams (one is mixed and one is a women’s team) and the other is a senior women’s team. She also curls on a mixed doubles team with Keith.
As fall approaches, the senior women’s team is preparing for the season ahead. They have already begun to put a schedule together, with the goal of competing in the senior women’s national championship in Columbus, Ohio, at the end of January 2016. To prepare for this competition, the team will be competing in a monthly tournament as well practicing and participating in leagues during the week. Keith will be assisting the team in its development.
In addition to practicing during the week, Dropkin curls Monday evenings on a mixed team, Tuesday evenings on a women’s team, and Sunday mornings in a mixed doubles league. And, although she spends a great deal of her free time at Broomstones, she is never far from Keith or her two sons, Stephen and Korey. Both boys, who began curling at age 5 and currently live in Minnesota, are competing at the national and world levels with Olympic dreams.
“It has been wonderful to be able to share this sport with our sons,” Dropkin said. “We had no idea at the time how much a part of our lives it would become.”
With curling, she added, athletes can be as competitive or social as they choose.
“As a volunteer club, Broomstones – as with most curling clubs – benefits from the volunteer efforts of its members so there are lots of ways to contribute,” explained Dropkin. “I also like the rules of the sport which require a certain amount of decorum. The winners of a game buy the losers a drink (after the game), and the reciprocal is expected, giving players a wonderful opportunity to really get to know people ‘off the ice.’”
For Dropkin, curling is about continually learning and improving as she prepares for competition as well as supporting her husband and sons in theirs.
“My personal goal is to win the Senior National Women’s Championship and medal at the Senior Women’s World Championship,” she said. “And, along the way, my intention is to support Keith’s competitive goals, as he is competing on a club nationals’ team this year, as well as our sons’ competitive aspirations.”
Dropkin has this advice for anyone contemplating the sport of curling: “If you want to see the winters fly by, like the idea of being an individual contributor as well as contributing on a team, if you like strategy, and want to try one of the newest Olympic sports, curling is for you!”