Coming Out of the Closet: YES I’M A CURLING FAN!

ImageDeal with it.  We are here.  Loud and proud. 

Since I don’t reside in Canada or a major US city, the opportunity to enjoy a good Bonspiel (Curling lingo for all you neophytes) comes around but once every four years.  This year, no more hiding in a darkened room with the volume down, silently cheering for my boys from Norway. I’m out dude!  Wanna hang with me?  Then be ready to watch all of this year’s expanded coverage.  Yep, the Peacock Channel is finally living up to its proud logo and featuring my favorite winter sport.  Ice dancing be damned!, we’re getting some real sports action this year.

Don’t understand the game? Don’t think it’s cool?  I’ve put together a primer, of sorts, that will hopefully enrich your viewing of what looks to be the best Olympic Curling event in history.  Happy curling my friends!

Common Misconceptions

  1. Curling is not a sexy sport.   Au contraire, mon ami, au contraire.  Check out the images below:ImageImageImageImageImageImage
  2. Curlers are not real athletes  Not true. If the above images didn’t convince you, curling requires strength, balance, stamina, and endurance.  Curlers cover several miles during a typical match.
  3. Nobody watches Curling.  Not true.  There are currently about 1.5 million people participating in the sport.  Clubs are popping up in every corner of the world.  It equals hockey in popularity in Canada.  It is one of the most watched Olympic events.

Interesting Facts

  • Curling originated in Scotland during the 16th Century and, to this day, is the only source of curling stones.  Curling stones used to play the game are made from the granite of one tiny Scottish island there: Ailsa Craig.
  • Curling stones normally belong to the clubs.  Unlike bowling, people don”t bring their own rocks to the ice.  Clubs usually buy curling stones in sets, or sheets, of 16.  Cost per sheet runs about $3,000 to $4,000.  It can cost up to 40,000 to outfit a new club starting up. Both the US Curling Association and the World Curling Federation help newly formed clubs find used and refurbished stones to throw until they get on their feet and can afford to buy their own equipment.  Vintage stones are often used as decoration or doorstops and can be found on e-Bay.
  • Ailsa Craig curling rocks used today were quarried 40 to 50 years ago. They last a very long time.
  • The best curlers who reach professional status can earn between $60,000-$100,000; and, in Canada a select few reach “rock star status.  Canada’s Kevin Martin, perhaps the best curler in the world, has to wear disguises in public and employs a publicist.  Most of the money in curling comes from Olympic sponsorship and tournament winnings.
  • Canada is the odds on favorite to take gold in this Winter Olympic games.  The US is a long shot (to say the least) at 50/1 odds.

Key Terms Used in Curling

BACKLINE
The line across the ice at the back of the house. Stones which are over this line are removed from play.

BITER
A stone that just touches the outer edge of the circles.

BLANK END
An end in which no points have been scored.

BONSPIEL
A curling competition or tournament.

BRUSH
A device used to sweep the ice in the path of a moving stone.

BURNED STONE
A stone in motion touched by a member of either team, or any part of their equipment. Burned stones are removed from play.

BUTTON
The circle at the centre of the house.

COUNTER
Any stone in the rings or touching the rings which is a potential point.

CURL
The amount a rock bends while travelling down the sheet of ice.

DRAW WEIGHT
The momentum required for a stone to reach the house or cirlces at the distant end.

END
A portion of a curling game that is completed when each team has thrown eight stones and the score has been decided.

GUARD
A stone that is placed in a position so that it may protect another stone.

HACKS
The foot-holds at each end of the ice from which the stone is delivered.

HEAVY
A rock delivered with a greater force than necessary.

HIT
A take-out. Removal of a stone from the playing area by hitting it with another stone.

HOG LINE
A line 10 meters from the hack at each end of the ice.

HOGGED STONE
A stone that does not reach the far hog line. It must be removed from play.

HOUSE
The rings or circles toward which play is directed consisting of a 12-foot ring, 8-foot ring, 4-foot ring and a button.

IN-TURN
The rotation applied to the handle of a stone that causes it to rotate in a clockwise direction and curl for a right-handed curler.

LEAD
The first player on a team to deliver a pair of stones for his/her team in each end.

OUT-TURN
The rotation applied to the handle of a stone that causes it to turn and curl in a counter-clockwise direction for a right-handed curler.

PEBBLE
A fine spray of water applied to a sheet of curling ice before commencing play.

RAISE
When one stone is bumped ahead by another.

ROLL
The movement of a curling stone after it has struck a stationary stone in play.

SECOND
The curler who delivers the second pair of stones for hi/her team in each end.

SHEET
The specific playing surface upon which a curling game is played.

SHOT ROCK
At any time during an end, the stone closest to the button.

SKIP
The player who determines the strategy, and directs play for the team. The skip delivers the last pair of stones for his/her team in each end.

SPARE
An alternate player or substitute.

SLIDER
Slippery material placed on the sole of the shoe, to make it easier to slide on the ice.

SWEEPING
The action of moving a broom or brush back and forth in the path of a moving stone.

TAKE OUT
Removal of a stone from the playing area by hitting it with another stone.

TEE LINE
The line that passes through the centre of the house parallel to the hog line and backline.

THIRD, VICE-SKIP OR MATE
The third player on a team to throw two stones in each end. Generally this player acts as the skip when the skip is delivering his/her stones and assists with shot selection decisions.

WEIGHT
The amount of force given to the stone during the delivery.

ENJOY THE GAMES Y’ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,  EHH?

Peace and Good Sportsmanship to All New Curling Enthusiasts!

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About Phil

Hi, my name is Phil. I’ve managed to escape the corporate world, rid myself of excess belongings, travel the country extensively in my old Winnebago, and find a new home on a beautiful barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. I define myself as: a free spirit, a writer, a philosophical anarchist, a poet; a lover of nature, a lover of art, a protector of animals, as well as a devoted friend and partner
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