We Must Have Rocks in Our HeadLet me first introduce you to curling through a quotation from the movie Men with Brooms, “It’s not just a rock, it’s 42 lbs. of polished granite with a beveled underbelly and a handle a human can hold. It may serve no practical purpose in and of itself, but it is a repository of human possibility and if it’s handled just right, it will exact a kind of poetry. I have traveled through 93 countries all over the world and not once have I found anything that can equal the grace of a well-thrown rock, sliding down a sheet – not once.” The sport of curling is one of winter’s hidden gems. Often before the snow starts falling, many local rinks scattered across the region will put curling ice in and get ready for winter. Although curling is not as prevalent in the U.S. as it is in Canada, since becoming an official Olympic sport in 1998, curling’s popularity in the U.S. has grown significantly.
Curling is played with a team of four players against another team of four players. Teams take turns sliding those 42 pound stones down a sheet of ice about 140 feet long with a 12-foot circular target at the far end. By giving the stone a slight turn, it will curve up to four feet in its path from one end to the other. The beauty in the game is that at every moment of every game, each of the four players on your team has an impact on the result of each stone. This is because if they are not throwing, they are sweeping or calling the shot. Curling games take roughly two hours to play, but when participating in a game, plan for a three hour journey, because when games conclude, it is tradition to sit down and socialize with the other team afterwards. This is when lifelong bonds are formed with not only your own team, but with members of the club. A map of curling clubs in the U.S. can be found at www.ecsalaska.com. Find any of these clubs, contact them, and you’ll be overwhelmed by the welcoming attitude of all curlers across the country. It only takes one stone, and you could be hooked for life.