Scotland’s Leslie Ingram-Brown died on the weekend, after a life full of love for curling.
I believe I first met him at the 1996 world men’s championship in Hamilton, Canada. I was a director on the volunteer committee, responsible for publishing the daily newspaper, known as The Eyeopener.
Leslie was one of the angry Scots who took umbrage with an article I had written. I won’t delve into the details, but the source of angst had something to do with the British flag.
If your mind just dropped an “uh oh” you’d be right. Depending on the context, or even irrespective of context, Scots tend to get riled up over the Union Jack.
I published the subsequent Irate Letter To The Editor, written by Ingram-Brown’s fellow Scotsman Mike Haggerty – in the following day’s edition, without hesitation. I even added an editor’s note: “After having his ticket to the Scotch Whiskey Party summarily revoked, Karrys was publicly flogged in a brief, poorly attended ceremony earlier today.”
Haggerty made a half-hearted attempt to maintain an air of disgust around me, but I could tell he was pleased with my prompt capitulation.
Ingram-Brown, if I remember this correctly, was seen continuously glowering at me throughout the remainder of the nine-day tournament.
Our paths next crossed at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. This time I was a competitor, playing for Canada, while he was one of the on-ice officials. “I knew I recognized that colonial name,” he rasped, upon greeting me during the inaugural practice session. “I’m going to relish handing you over to the doping control officers, Karrys, and I hope that’s every single day, lad.”
I would have the last laugh, however, as I was the only member of the team not to be ordered to pee in a bottle. Not once, over a period of two weeks. Day after day, Ingram-Brown looked at his clipboard and shook his head in dismay. Victory was mine.
After the medal presentation, with the event officially over, Leslie was one of the first two officials to hustle over to the grandstand – where I was greeting my family – to see the medal. In the image above, he’s the tall bearded fellow on the left (missing the top of his head), arriving just behind a local official.
Our good-natured jousting continued from 2006-09 when I worked as Media Relations Officer for the World Curling Federation. Ingram-Brown was always present, either as an official, host committee volunteer or event photographer. The latter presented many gleeful opportunities – me telling him where to stand, where not to stand, and wondering aloud if I should revoke his press credentials. We were fast becoming good friends, as inevitably happens in our sport.
I was proud to see him inducted into the World Curling Hall of Fame as a builder in 2008.
Leslie continued supplying images to The Curling News for many years. I was always struck by his commitment to attending and supporting championships that were well outside the limelight – the World Juniors, in particular, as well as the European Mixed championships, before they became the World Mixed.
I’m delighted to hear he continued playing, even from a wheelchair, as late as 2019, when he was also serving as president of his Scottish curling club for the second time.
I’m also delighted to see many fine recollections of Leslie online. A typical one from former sportscaster Chris Mayberry reads: “Such sad news. A wonderful rascal and raconteur, who never hesitated in his efforts to get me looped on good scotch. #RIP my friend.”
That’s perfect. Farewell, dear Leslie, and thanks for all the memories.