The Case for Curling
That magical time is back. We’ve anxiously waited four years for this sport that captures our hearts. Unless you are in very specific parts of the world you, can’t find it on T.V., it’s not popular on YouTube and there are no intramural teams to speak of. What is this mystery sport that appears every four years? Why yes, it is the magical winter sport of curling.
Many of us watch the games late at night with fascination. What are they doing? Why are they sliding rocks on ice, and yelling at people with brooms to sweep as the rock slides towards a large target. I thought it might be nice to lay out some of the general principles of the sport, so those of us following at home will understand a little better what is going on.
Curling: The Basics
Curling is a sport played by two teams of four players who slide stones across a sheet of ice at a target area of four rings. The sport started in Scotland back in the 1500s. It made a few brief appearances, but became a permanent winter Olympic sport in 1998.
When first watching the sport it can be a little confusing, but if you break it down it’s not too complicated. Curling is sometimes considered “chess on ice.” It is a sport of skill, precision, teamwork and intelligence. And, there is a great list of terminology for curling written by Dummies.
What it boils down to is the point of each game is to score points by sliding your team’s stones closer to the center of the target “or house” then the other team. Each team gets eight throws per end. Each team member throws two stones per end. You play for 10 ends. The team with the highest score after 10 ends is the winner.
On paper the sport of curling is very simple. But much like chess, just because you understand the way the pieces move, doesn’t mean you’ll win a match. It’s all about how you use those skills to protect the house, while also scoring points. If you want to give it a shot you can download the “Play! Curling” game available for Android.
As you have seen watching curling, the three teammates who don’t throw, are controlling the speed of the stone by sweeping the ice in front of it. Not only does this clear any debris in front of the stone, but also heats up the ice to make the stone slide smoother and faster. This frantic activity helps to make the throws much more precise. Whether the object is to score or to protect, every inch matters it a game of curling.
Hopefully this brief look at the fascinating sport of curling will help as you settle in to watch this charming little sport during our favorite winter event that only happens every four years.
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