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Curling...Yes, Curling

Since my last two articles were about tennis, I decided to look into a sport that it seems people care about even less, and I came up with curling.  Some may even call into question whether curling is considered a sport“In my opinion, curling isn’t a sport.  I mean, come on, there is nothing at all athletic about it. It’s just sweeping an ice rink,” said one Yeshiva College student, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

But the Olympic committee disagrees.  Curling has been an Olympic event since the 1998 winter games. In the 2010 games in Vancouver, there were ten qualifying teams in both the men’s and women’s curling events.  I had to find out more.  After watching a few YouTube videos about curling, I concluded that as much as people may laugh at it, and as lame as it sounds, it looks pretty fun; kind of like bocce on ice.

There are five main components to curling: the curling sheet, which is an area of ice which has been prepared for curling; the hack, which is the block that the delivering player pushes off in order to get him sliding; the curling stone, a 38-44 pound granite disc with a handle on it; brooms for sweeping the area in front of the stone; and the house – basically a typical target with a bulls-eye in the center.

Here’s how to curl. There are three players on a curling team.  There are ten rounds, called ends, in a curling match.  In each end, each player gets two chances two deliver (slide) a stone into the house. While one player delivers, the other two players follow the stone with brooms, and sweep the area in front of the stone as needed in order to get the stone to travel far enough to get into the house.

Since each player gets to deliver two stones in every end, the area around the ice can get quite crowded with stones, and there is quite a bit of bumping stones, and ruining other players’ good deliveries.

There is also a tradition of sportsmanship in the sport of curling. The players greet each other before the match with a hand shake and the salutation, “good curling.” Players are expected to call their own fouls. For example, if one of the sweepers accidentally touches a stone, he is expected to alert his opponents of his foul. It is also traditional for the winners of the match to take the other players out for drinks after the match.

The alleged sport of curling seems to be a wonderfully enjoyable activity, and I would love to try it out, provided that I don’t break my coccyx too many times. I’m not sure I’d call it a sport, though. In a YouTube video about the 2010 United States Olympic curling team (there were a lot of Canadian accents), the exercise part of their training regimen was literally a joke. Either way, I just wrote an article about curling.