The nickname “Miss October” would normally carry negative connotations for someone who plays a winter sport — suggesting a hot start and cooling down when it matters most — but that isn’t the case for Kendra Lilly.
The 27-year-old from Sudbury, who throws third stones for Northern Ontario’s Team McCarville, has earned the somewhat dubious moniker because she’s the featured athlete for that month in the 2019 Women of Curling Calendar.
“Oh, it’s not too bad,” Lilly said. “I was just happy to be any month really.”
Did Lilly ever think publisher George Karrys would ask her to appear in the fundraising venture?
“Absolutely not,” she said with a laugh. “When he asked I was like, ‘Are you sure? Me?’ I don’t know, never thought in a million years but it’s pretty cool.”
Once the initial shock wore off, Lilly didn’t have much hesitation about going through with it.
“I don’t really like having my picture taken so only that,” she said. “Now that it’s done and just being able to raise money for a good cause is a good feeling.”
Lilly is among 15 athletes who posed for the 2019 Women of Curling Calendar with each curler donating a portion of proceeds to a charity of their choice. Lilly is supporting the Alzheimer Society Sudbury-Manitoulin North Bay & Districts.
“I think that disease hits home and I see how it affects the families and everyone else around them,” she said. “I just wanted to help raise money for them.”
The calendar has alternated back and forth in recent years between featuring male and female curlers and ranging from risqué (e.g. last year Colin Hodgson wore an apron … and nothing else) to something more classy. Lilly opted to steer closer to the latter rather than the former with her featured picture.
“Our team, we just have a big focus on fitness and being active, so mine was outside just in workout gear,” Lilly said. “Doing something a little bit more risqué wasn’t really my type so I just wanted to do something that showed that we focus on fitness and I think it did. I think the pictures turned out well.”
With that in mind, Lilly set out to the great outdoors of Northern Ontario and down the uncharted path.
“They kind of put it in your own hands to do whatever, so I had a cousin of mine, Keshia, take the photos,” Lilly said. “She had reached out to me and said, ‘Hey I can do your photos for you,’ so we met in a little town where she lives — Espanola, outside of Sudbury — and we just pulled right off of the highway. There were some rocks and then we went up this big path to back in the bush. It was a little dangerous but it was worth it for the picture.”
Things didn’t go off without a hitch, of course.
“My best friend came and she had an allergic reaction all over her feet,” Lilly said. “Our photographer had some problems too, so it was a lot of fun.”
Lilly’s main takeaway from the whole experience was learning she has horrible posture.
“She was saying like your back is still hunched and I’m sitting there trying,” Lilly said with a laugh. “It was uncomfortable but it’s good to put yourself out there and to raise money, so it’s a good feeling.”
As for the final pictures, well, you’ll just have to purchase a calendar to check them out.
The 2019 Women of Curling calendar ($29.95 CDN) is available online at womenofcurling.ca or you can pick one up in person during the Tour Challenge from the Goldline Curling pop-up shop located at Tournament Centre.