Saturday, February 20, 2010

What the heck is Curling?

Brier 045.jpg

So now that the Olympics are on, there is one sport that inevitably some also asks me what the heck is Curling? They throw rocks to the other end of a sheet of ice and then what?
So I am going to explain the game so you all know! 

Curling is thought to be started in medieval Scotland- first coming to ice in 1541.  They actually found what looked to be a curling stone inscribed with the date 1511 when a old pond was drained in Scotland.  The game is known as the "roaring game" because of the sound the stones make on the ice.  The name curling was added later because the stones curl as you throw them.  Curling came over with the Scots in early 1800's to Canada where they use to play it on the frozen lakes.  it came to the  United States in 1830, 30 years after it had been in Canada.  Curling has been an Olympic sport since 1998.  

The Ice:
The ice is called a curling sheet. It is 146 to 150 feet long, and they try to make it as level as possible.  A key part of the preparation of the playing surface is the spraying of water droplets, called "pebble," onto the level ice. Because of the friction between the stone and pebble, the stone turns to the inside or outside, causing the stone to "curl". The amount of curl can change during a game as the pebble wears.

On the sheet there are 12 foot wide set concentric rings called the house.  They are placed at each end of the rink.  The center is called the button which is the goal to get your stone to. There are two lines the stones must cross as the reach the house, these lines are called the hog lines.   At the very end of the rink are also foot holds called hacks.  This is where the players push off of when they are throwing a stone.

The Shoes:
There are special shoes used in Curling.  There is a slider shoe with a thin teflon surface that allows you to slide on the ice.  The other shoe has a rough surface that gives its wearer traction on the ice. 

Side note: when we played back home, we wore our running shoes, and had this slider we slipped over our shoe.  It was like a thong with out the toe strap.

The Broom:
The Curling broom is used to sweep the ice surface in front of the stone.  The broom use to be made out of corn strands- kinda like the old household brooms.  Now they are are made out of carbon fiber or something- not like the old school brooms at all!!!
Brooms are also used as balancing aids during the delivery of the stone.

The Curling Stone (Rock):
The Curling stone is a big granite stone with a handle on top.  It weighs between 38-44 pounds it has a circumference of approx. 36 inches and is 4.5 inches in height.  The handle allows the stone to be gripped and rotated upon release. Depending which way you turn it will determine the spin and the location at the other end of the rink- hopefully landing near or on the button.

An Old Scottish Stone.

How to Play:
So basically you want to get your stones to the button and knock out your competition.  There is actual strategy to the game, so you aren't just throwing the rocks and hope for the best! There are four team members- each has their own roll.  The Skip shows you where he wants the rock placed in the house, there are two sweepers, and a vice skip, who is at the other end when the skip throws his rock.  
When throwing the rock, it must make it past the hog line to count, so you have to throw it hard enought to make it past the line, but not to hard to have it go out completely.
Sweeping is done for two reasons, to make the stone travel farther, and the change the amount of curl- thats why when you watch they yell "HARD! HARD" or "HURRY! HURRY!" they want more sweep to speed the stone up and get more curl.
Once a stone touches another stone the stone it touched is out.  If the stones hit the edge or the back hog line it is out as well.
Each game is 10 end long and each player throws 2 stones- so 8 for each team.

So thats Curling.  We use to have fun playing tackle curling where we would throw a rock and the chase down the sweepers and tackle them.  Yeah we are weird.  Its a fun game tho.  The rocks are actually hard to throw then you think- to get any sort of accuracy.  They go really fast- and if they jump the edge hurt if they land on your feet.

So thats it!! I hope you watch it and don't think- I cant believe Lisa Likes this sport!!!!
(Got most of my info from wikipedia History of Curling)

No comments:

Post a Comment