'Get the exercise and get moving': 98-year-old Sask. veteran credits health to biweekly curling

A 98-year-old Saskatchewan veteran who served during the Second World War continues to keep himself in shape by curling twice a week at a Regina club.

Osborne Lakness, known to his friends as Ossie, has been curling since he was 16 years old, after starting his career in his hometown of Govan, Sask.

“What are you going to do if you quit sports? Watch it on TV? Yeah, but it’s not the same,” Lakness said.

He has been curling for more than 80 years, with just a three-year break from the game when he went overseas to serve in the Navy during the Second World War.

“I was on a frigate in the North Atlantic, convoy duty,” Lakness said. “I made seven trips across.”

After he returned home, he picked up right where he left off. Now nearing the century mark, he said the sport keeps him moving.

“Well I have good health,” Lakness said. “To get the exercise and get moving, it helps. If you were just to sit and sit all the time, that’s kind of boring.”

Aside from the physical benefits, Lakness also enjoys the social aspect of the game, with many matches followed by time to reminisce with a cold beer.

“I can remember the old Tartan Club… there used to be about 12 [of us], would always come up for a beer after they finished their game,” Lakness said. “Every Saturday night, we’d have a band in and we’d dance, way back then it was a little different than it is now.”

“We like to socialize, that’s a big part of this league,” Ray Finlay, a member of the Queen City Seniors Curling Club, said. “Ossie and I like to have a beer and reminisce a little about some of the good old days.”

Finlay has been curling with Lakness since 1985, after meeting him through the seniors’ league at the Tartan Curling Club.

“I’ve known him since then and curled a lot of games against him, and lost a lot of games,” Finlay said.

With eight decades of curling experience under his belt, Finlay said Lakness’ strategy is his strength on the pebbled ice. But he also brings a positive attitude to the league.

“A lot of fun, he has a lot of experience and his personality, just never gets down on anything. Win or lose, we’re here to have fun and boy he’s the greatest guy at that,” Finlay said.

Not just involved on the ice, Lakness has been a key player in all levels of the sport in the province, including serving as a member of the Saskatchewan Curling Association executive for many years, and as the president of the organization for one.

He is also a co-founder of the Queen City Seniors Curling Club, which he continues to participate in at the Callie Curling Club.

Lakness spent the majority of his curling career as a skip, but stepped down this year to the role of third.

With files from CTV News Regina's Gareth Dillistone