Jeffery Boats: Professor curls in spare time

Dr. Jeffery Boats is the department chair for mathematics and computer science at UDM. You might assume he spends his evenings and weekends crunching numbers and discussing theorems.

You'd be wrong.

Boats, an avid adult baseball player who loves to participate in athletics, has one of the more interesting hobbies you will find of anyone walking around the campus: curling.

How does someone stumble upon such a unique game?

Boats discovered it while he was on a writers' retreat in Hornepayne, Ontario.

"I was writing all the time, just writing in isolation," Boats said. "You can't write all day, everyday. So I went skating at a local

While there, he noticed a curling rink.

While there wasn't a game going on that day, Boats continued to visit the rink while in Hornepayne. One day, he noticed action.

"There were some townies out there looking for a game," Boats said.

It makes sense that Boats discovered the game in Canada because, according to Boats, "There are one and a half million curlers, and eighty percent of them are

This experience sparked an interest that has stayed with him ever since.

Having earned multiple degrees in mathematics, Boats felt he had a distinct advantage over the average beginning curler.

"As a new curler, I did a lot of computation to make up for being a novice," he said.

But Boats concedes that proficiency in mathematics does not make up for years of experience on the rink.

"My advantage is fading a bit," he said. "Knowing math will help you to become better faster, but it is not going to make you a better curler than guys who have been playing for 20 or 30

For UDM students interested in giving curling a try, curling is not a particularly expensive game to take up. While many experienced players own their gear, it is not a necessity, he said.

The game also has one thing going for it that many traditional sports seem to be lacking these days.

"In curling, friendship and sportsmanship take precedence over winning," said Boats. "Often times after finishing both teams will go out for drinks, with the winning team buying – that sort of