Ask someone to name the most random sport he or she can think of. Chances are you will get polo, biathlon, or Slamball (a TNT Exclusive strain of basketball featuring trampolines). However, more often than not, the answer will be curling.
What is curling? Well on the surface, it is that strange Canadian pasttime we Americans enjoy poking fun at every four years when the Winter Olympics roll around. This claim could not stray further from the truth.
Curling is a regal sport, demanding the utmost precision and concentration of its athletes. The Scottish became the original participants to play the game around 1541.
Players originally slid rocks found in the Scottish hills. Today players use cylindrical granite slabs, appropriately dubbed “stones.” The stones are solid granite, weighing between thirty-eight and forty-four pounds.
So how is the infamous game actually played? Teams take turns sliding stones down a strip of ice called the “curling sheet” at a circular target in the center called the “house.” At the end of the round, points are awarded for stones closest to the house.
This sounds simple, but we are just getting started.
A curling team consists of four players. The four players rotate between the positions of thrower and sweeper. The thrower first throws the stone in the desired direction.
If you have ever watched curling you will remember two men frantically scrubbing the ice; these are the sweepers. The sweepers redirect the curling stone by smoothing the ice, thus making the stone slide smoothly along the originally rough ice.
The stone follows the path of least resistance. This allows players to avoid other stones or turn a corner if it becomes necessary in the game.
All this sums up to a game of constant strategy. Because players are allowed to strike other teams’ rocks, the game becomes quite complicated quickly. Shouting and chaos between players and smashing between stones provide for a riviting game.
The strategy and precision required in the game of curling has brought on its seemingly fitting nickname: Chess on Ice.
You might not know this, but curling fans run rampant all over the Chadwick campus. Leading the charge of these involved fans is resident scholar Laurence Marc Feygin.
“I was raised on Soviet curling,” said Feygin. “I cannot remember a time without the slabs in my life.” He actually makes a habit of curling on weekends when he is not too busy cooking up a storm!
Larry came loaded with one especially valuable piece of advice during our interview.
“Don’t knock it til’ you try it,” he knowledgably stated. “Many assume that just because curling seems excruciatingly boring on television, this means playing will prove equally as unfun. Curling is a thrilling game. I encourage everyone to try it. I want to be a professional curler when I grow up!”
More power to ya, Larry. We can’t wait to see you sliding down the curling sheet someday.
In the meantime, we hope you all head on down to your local curling house and start sweeping.