On Saturday night, we went curling. It’s a fine old sport. Granted, Canadians are awfully good at it and deserve the credit for keeping this originally Scottish activity alive and well.
We went to a rink called “Heather” here in Winnipeg. Heather was nice. There were about 6 courts. Well, they’re called “rinks” but I prefer to think of them as courts because they look, to my jaded American eyes, like shuffleboard courts, despite the fact that ice covers them.
I did pretty well. That is, I stank. But I was able to get the rock (I mean, “stone”) to the other side. And my form was pretty good, despite the fact that I fell once on one knee, hard. Then I fell on my chest and arm. And I then fell on my side and knee again, which is pretty black and blue but looks, according to my daughter, like a lightening rod.
The stone itself is very easy to push across the ice. The hard part is pushing it across the ice so that it doesn’t either fly to the other side. That combined with not knocking your own team’s rock too hard.
And sweeping the ice in front of the stone is a pretty odd endeavor. I tried hard to sweep when requested (“hard” when screamed means “sweep hard”) but the skeptic in me kept thinking that sweeping in front of the rocks to make it go further was pointless. Was my brush-pushing actually doing anything at all? It was hard to tell but I’m a good sport.
Mostly, it was just good fun for eight people to get together, throw some rocks (sorry, “stones”) and see what the sport is all about. I would definitely to it again in a few months, though I doubt I’d get a membership at a local curling club. It is tempting, though. Curling does strike me (no pun) as a sport where no conversations can be had and friends can be made. I have a huge new respect for the sport because, man, it’s hard!
Manitoba’s first settlers, in 1812, made curling stones from oak blocks. Curling exploded in the west, turning Winnipeg into the center of curling, with more clubs in Manitoba than in Quebec and Ontario combined. The Manitoba Branch of the Royal Caledonian was established in 1888 and curlers from all parts of Canada and the U.S.A. flocked to the Winnipeg Curling Club, with 62 rinks participating in the bonspiel that year.
– Gleaned from icing.org.
Manitoba, the province in which I reside, has a very strong Curling Association. There must be a few hundred clubs listed. I, however, quite liked Heather.
After the game, the eight of us went upstairs to drink beer and talk about our curling.
Today, there were 78 comments on a post called “The Greatest Curling Shot Ever” on Metafilter. I don’t know enough, yet, to say the video there is really the greatest but it’s an inspired bit of play.
A good friend of a good friend of mine made a movie about curling that is as hilariously informative as it is beautiful. It’s called History of the Hogline.