My First Curling Experience

I should audition for another Men with Brooms! I went out curling for the first time today with work, they had an event and I ended up going. At first I forgot about it and figured it was too late, but on Friday someone came up and made sure I was going to come, as I was needed to fill out a team of people I didn’t know. We got there a bit early and got some practice in. For me it was the first time I’d curled, and my only experience with curling previous was watching it during the last winter olympics.

Basically it goes like this. You have two teams and they each chuck a 44lb rock with a handle and try to be the one closest to the bullseye when the last rock is thrown. There is a bunch of other stuff, terminology (“skip”, “first”, “end”, “house”) and strategy, but it really boils down to two things.

  • Chucking a rock at a bullseye and hoping that you can knock a bunch of other rocks out of the way (if that’s what the strategy is, and that’s more fun because you don’t have to worry about throwing the rock too lightly and having it end up in the middle of the sheet of ice or too heavily and have it bury itself in the back wall).
  • Getting to yell “SWEEEP! SWEEEEP! HARDER!” at the guy with the broom (who can give your rock a bit of a turn one way or the other or a bit of extra distance). Sometimes I yelled regardless, because lets face it, yelling is fun.

Finished that and had some food and drinks ($2 pints!), played another game, then had a raffle for door prizes. Somehow I knew not only that I’d get something, but I’d be first, and sure enough, my card (they were using playing cards ripped in half for the draw) was the first one called. It was a bit freaky. I grabbed myself a nice light jacket (combo fleece and nylon, perfect for spring), but if I’d thought about it more, I should have looked for another nice button up with the company logo on it, as my work shirts (required collar) don’t have a lot of variety.

Another thing that first time players will find is that the motions you do to throw a rock work muscles that you don’t normally use, and my leg is killing me right now. Assuming you are right handed, to throw a rock you put your left foot on a slipperly foot thing to help you slide better and your right foot in a rubber foot rest embedded in the ice. You put your broom in your left hand for balance, and take the rock in your right. Squat and push off with your right foot, leaving your left at a 90-ish degree angle. Your right foot, after it pushes you off, stays straight out behind you.

Let the momentum of the rock pull you down the ice and when things are lined up properly, give the rock a bit (a small bit) of a twist either left or right, whichever way you want it to curve (or “curl”) as it gets to the end of the ice.

End result, your right inner thigh will be sore 🙂 Lots more info about this quite fun and all Canadian sport here.

I put some pics that were taken up in the gallery.

Other than that it was a rainy ugly day, and we got shopping done. I’m also trying to work on a deal to satisfy my aformentioned maclust, but there have been some stops thrown in. There are other possibilties though, hopefully I can sort of keep all of them going until one comes through.

7 Comments on “My First Curling Experience”

  1. That’s something I’ve always wanted to ask, but I’ve been afraid of looking kinda naive and insulting a curler (they throw big rocks so I don’t wanna get them mad)…
    I’m having a hard time imaginging the friction from the broom can really warm up the ice that much to make a difference. Does it really work? Are there any physics dissertations I can read somewhere?
    Thank you, I have once again proven my naivety…

  2. I don’t think it’s so much warming up the ice, but smoothing it down enough, and getting rid of the the little bumps and grit that builds up on the ice. I don’t think it’s much, but enough to extend the momentum of the rock just a tiny bit, enough for a couple more feet.
    I was told a couple of times “good sweeping”, but I have zero clue as to how far the rock would have gone if I had stood and done nothing….

  3. Isn’t it curling cool? My first time was a few months back with some people at my wifes work. Haven’t been back, but would love to do it again.

  4. Was that Marpole Curling Club? I went a few years ago with work and it was awesome and yes the groin hurts quite a bit the day after.

  5. if ya liked curling ya gotta try lawn bowling… ya bunch of old geezers!!!!sheesh!