Have you caught the curling bug while watching the Olympics? Here’s your chance to try the sport, which is a game of strategy and honor.
“There are no referees, even at the Olympic level. So, if you make a foul or touch a stone illegally, you have to call it on yourself, ” said John Maher, the founder of the Drake Curling Club.
It’s also a game filled with nuance and some interesting terminology.
“The goal of the sport is to get the stone into the circles,” explained Maher.
Each stone is made from 42-pounds of granite. The circles are called the house. The people frantically “scrubbing” the ice with broom-like apparatuses are called sweepers. Maher tells us an especially skilled sweeper, like those in the Olympics, can make the stone go ten feet farther. The skipper is the strategist, calling the shots like a quarterback in a football game.
“We’re going to start out at the basic level,” said Maher.
Basic is good because we know almost nothing about curling. First, he shows us the “glide.” This is how the stone is launched across the ice.
“Heel toe, down you go,” says Maher, demonstrating the move. He makes it look easy, probably because he’s been curling for years.
“My High School back in Wisconsin had it as a varsity sport.”
When he came to Drake, he brought the sport with him. In fact, it’s the fist curling club in the state.
“It challenges you physically, but on thing that’s really nice, is it’s accessible to anyone. You don’t have to be aerobically fit or a big weight lifter to do it.”
It improves balance and flexibility and is a great upper-body workout.
“Over the course of a curling game, you can actually do the sweeping for over a mile.”
The pay-off: Getting the stone in the house with the guidance of the sweeper and the hack.
If you’d like to try curling, The Des Moines Curling Club is holding a premier Olympic Open House event at Brenton Skating Plaza in Des Moines on February 12 from 6p.m. to 8p.m. The event will showcase the sport of curling to Olympic fans in Des Moines and allow them to learn the basics of the game. Members of the Des Moines Curling Club will be on hand to provide basic instruction and answer questions about the sport in general as well as the specifics of the new curling club in Des Moines.