Men with Brooms
So, Sunday Francie and our friend Cathy attended a 4 hour curling class.
It was awesome! For the uninitiated curling is a sport played on a sheet of ice with large granite rocks. You have two teams of four players (lead, second, third, and Skip). Each team member has two rocks to slide down the ice with the object being to score points at the end of the round. There is a bullseye target called The House that you're aiming for. The team whose rock is closest to the button (the center of the house) will score at least one point. For every additional rock that is closer to the button than the other team's, you score an additional point. You play ten ends and the team with the most points wins.
Now the real trick with curling is your teammates can help your rock by sweeping the ice directly in front of the rock with brooms. This additional friction allows the rock to slide farther than it would normally. A lor farther! In addition, the initial spin you give to the rock will help determine which way the rock curls as it slows down. The Skip of the team will give the slider an aiming point and a direction to spin the each rock, so there's a great deal of strategy in when and where to position each rock. Do you line up a guard rock to make one of your own scoring rocks harder to take out OR do you try and knock you opponent's rock clear to make room for your next throw?
Now I certainly didn't think it would be easy at all, but let me tell you sweeping is hard work and after two or three ends, you'll gain newfound respect for anyone brave enough to pick up the broom! :) I managed to wipe out throwing rocks, sweeping and even as the Skip just standing still. And despite these several mishaps, it was ridiculously fun. The most difficult thing for me was pushing off from the starting blocks (called the hack) when throwing my rocks. You push with one foot and then must immediately slide your opposite foot underneath your body to keep your balance and momentum. All this while you're really supposed to be concentrating on aiming your rock at the Skip's target and putting the proper spin on the rock. Oy! BY the end of the session I did manage to throw two rocks more or less where I was aiming, so the learning curve wasn't too daunting even for a complete amateur.
There's a local group starting a regular weekly curling club and I think I might just have to join up and see how I fare after a few more sessions.
My advice, if you have a chance to try curling, go for it!