Last night Cookie and I were at the local ice rink, inside of a shopping mall, after hours with ten other people. We all had funny black grippers over our shoes and were clutching brooms. The chatty gentlemen standing at the head of our semi circle were talking about safety on the ice, how to get yourself in the hack, and how to glide off down the ice pushing a big granite rock.
Yes my friends, we were learning to curl.
I tell you, the sport looks funny when you are just watching it, especially if you are new. Even admitting that I am a bit of a curling fan, watching the local league finish up their games before we ambled onto the ice made Cookie and I giggle. It all just looks so dorky.
Aha, and then we started participating, and dorky it wasn't any longer. It was fun! It was difficult! It was a cardio workout! Those stones can go down the ice faster than you think, and when sweeping, you've got to run/hobble sideways while scrubbing with a lot of pressure on the ice, without bumping into the other sweeper's broom or the stone. (I failed at all of those tasks.)
Throwing a stone is complicated, too. There's the fact that on your lead foot, there's a piece of slick teflon that will let you glide/slide/careen down the ice. That foot with the teflon doesn't feel stable at all. The other foot is resting in the hack, and one hand is holding a balancer thingy while the other hand (opposite side from your slippy foot) is the stone. The stone needs to be held in a certain way, and rotated gently in a certain way as you let go of it. There's a lot to think about.
It kind of went like this:
Okay, foot in the hack. crouch down.
Okay, holding the stone.
Okay, holding the stabilizer.
Okay, put your foot on the glider. WOAH.
Okay, sort of stand up and draw back your glidey foot WOAH
and then push off and keep your balance and hey i'm gliding! and ohyeah letgoofthestone heydidiremembertoturnit ithinkidid wow it is going slow i can't believe i just curled! wow it did not go more than ten feet this is HARD.
can i go again?
It was pretty fun. There were four instructors to the 12 of us learners, so they split us into two teams of six each and we played a game. Which basically meant that of the 12 rocks thrown, maybe four traveled far enough down the ice to make it into play.
I would like to thank Cookie and Scott for sweeping my stone past the line to make it into play, even though it was nowhere near the target. Good sweeping blue team!
I am sore today. I was breathing hard last night. I see why John Mosley wrote a book about conditioning for the sport. I can see why they call it a sport. Cookie and I were really excited afterwards. The league is starting up again in January, will we join up? Stay tuned to find out, folks.
Living in Portland and want to curl? Check out The Evergreen Curling Club.