Westport native Sally Anstett Barry excelled at something truly different from her peers -- curling.
A Staples alumnae, Class of 1967, Barry recently competed as a member of the US Team in the 2011 Women's World Senior Curling Championships held on her home ice, the St. Paul Curling Club in St. Paul Minn. The U.S. team finished fourth in the 11-team competition that was won by the perennial favorites, Canada and was a few points short of winning the bronze medal.
"This was such an honor and so exciting to be part of, especially being held at our club in St. Paul," beamed Barry. "These were the very best competitors from all over the world." The senior event is for women over 55 years old and this was the first time the competition was held in St. Paul.
Barry and her husband Pat started their curling odyssey here in Connecticut at the original Nutmeg Curling Club at the Darien Country Club. Introduced to the sport by friends, the Barrys took to the sport wholeheartedly and competed in local and regional events for many years. Pat's job took them to Wisconsin for a couple of years where curling is even more active than it is in Connecticut.
While in Connecticut, Sally Barry was a teacher in the Westport School system for many years, teaching physical education at Coleytown Middle School and coaching both field hockey and tennis. The opportunity came up for her to move to The Blake School in Minnesota and she jumped. At the private school, she teaches physical education and coaches tennis and softball.
Barry's athletic background comes from her days at Staples. Her passion at that time was field hockey where she was coached by legendary Staples Coach Ginny Parker. She was also a member of the Lady Wrecker track and tennis teams.
After Staples, Barry went to Jacksonville University for her undergraduate degree and then to Southern Connecticut to get a masters in teaching. Her first job was back in the Westport school system where she used her training and friendship with Parker to assist in her field hockey coaching of middle school girls.
"Ginny Parker taught me so much. I would take my young students up to Staples to watch her practices and games," recalled Barry.
On the four-person US team,
On the four-person U.S. team, Barry is what's called a `Lead,' where she is the first to "throw her stone" to either score a point or block the other team from scoring points.
There is a slight comparison to shuffle board on ice for the truly uninitiated.
"I'm like a lead-off hitter in baseball," says Barry. "I've got to make things happen on the sheet, just like a lead-off hitter does in baseball."