October 21, 2016
I am so excited to be curling again. Even though I only started last year, and I’m considered a “newbie,” it’s like riding a bike and it came back quickly. Two weeks ago I curled in the opening social time at our club (Cape Cod Curling Club) and I was nervous. A special thank you to my other newbie curling friend, Tom, who booked ice time for us to practice before I played a game. Sometimes I over think things and after a six month break I was thinking, “How do I slide? What foot goes out first? How hard do I throw the stone? How do I aim? And so on….” Anyway, it was great to practice then curl in opening social time and now I am playing regularly with the Thursday night Ladies League.
Last night was my second week back to curling with the league and I love it. It is such an incredible and unique sport that I continue to be amazed. I’m playing Lead and enjoy the position, but towards the end of last year I liked 2nd better as you did more take outs and had the opportunity to place stones in the house and not just throw guards. Don’t get me wrong, as there is an important role for each of the four players, but I like the variety of shots with the 2nd spot.
I played fairly well my first two weeks, but I am also eager to fine tune my throws. A teammate reminded me that you need to think about the weight of the throw, placement, and the ice. Another way to say this-You need to think about the speed, force, and direction of the stone you throw. Of course you have to do what your Skip tells you to do. The Skip places her/his broom where you should throw the stone and provides the right handle to use. Not to brag, but I throw to the broom pretty well and can place the stone. Of course we are all human and I don’t put the throw of the weight (heavy or light) together every time, but I am learning. I am also astonished at some of the shots the more experienced players make. They “draw” the stone to sit in front of the opposing team’s stone, knock out two or three stones at a time, and even place a hammer (last stone of the game) stone in a specific place in the house to win the end.
With respect to the etiquette with the sport of curling, I must admit I am still learning. An opposing team player pulled me aside last night and shared some etiquette tips. Little did I know that I can’t move around to get ready for the sweeping. Yes, I am also a tennis player so I was doing a little back and forth motion and getting “psyched” for the throw and to ready to sweep but…. But, it is distracting to the thrower to do this. So noted and I am now calmer as I wait to sweep. I also learned that I shouldn’t be in the front of the hog line (was standing on it) when the other team throws. It’s ok for me to be there when my team is throwing, but only the team with someone throwing the stone should be there. Opposing teammates should be on the other side of the hog line.
I like to read and watch videos to help me learn more about the sport. Here are some links and information about curling if you want to learn more too:
Curlers are competitive yet very kind. We always start a game shaking everyone’s hand (should use gloves for health safety issues) and say, “Good Curling.” Then at the end of a game curlers shake hands again. Great sportspersonship! And of course it is fun to sit at the assigned table (by sheet) after the games are finished. Opposing team players socialize and talk about their play. I must admit the women at my table last night also talked about food, family, significant others, jobs, curling clothing, and I, of course, shared my step count of 7,685 for the evening (7 miles of exercise with moving and sweeping).
I’ll post some curling pictures next time.
Until then-Good curling all.