Taking an intro to curling class is what happens when you have a lunch conversation with your hubby about random Winter Olympic sports, a constant curiosity for fun activities and a smartphone. That led to a search for a place where we could try curling, which resulted in my husband and I drove thru a winter snow storm to try this adventure. My husband is a good sport and we decided to make the $10 intro to curling class a unique date night.
We arrived at the ice center after a white-knuckle trip down. We scoped out the arena and noticed the markings on the ice for our game.
Our only knowledge of the sport came from channel surfing during the Winter Olympics. We knew there were brooms involved and that it looked like shuffleboard on ice.
We were told that curling is one of the few sports where beer is encouraged on the ice. You just set it on the ledge inside the rink while the other team is going. No wonder so many guys like this sport! We checked out our surroundings and noticed the other newbies and the pros who brought their own broom or wore matching outfits. The “Sweeping Beauties” guys were my favorite. They owned it with their matching neon green sweatbands.
Most of our instruction was on the ice which was good because I am a very visual learner.
The round stone is called the rock and weighs over 40lbs.
The area on the other side of the ice is called the house. You want to get your rock into your house without passing the line just like shuffleboard. The “sweepers” no longer use real brooms but something with a similar purpose. You only sweep if the thrower’s rock is short of the house.
Then the sweepers will sweep as fast as possible in front of the rock to get it moving closer to the house.
We started out our class by practicing throwing lunges. This is why they recommend that you wear running pants. Thank God my jeans were stretchy. You put your right foot on the block and then slide your left foot forward. That made for some comical attempts by everyone.
We kept on practicing and then we got to try throwing the rocks from the starting block.
Almost every time I did the lunge I wiped out afterward on the ice. My instructor said that my throws were good so who cares about bruised knees or egos.
After a few good lunging throws we were instructed on how to “curl” the rock. You can rotate the handle to the right or to the left to create the curling spinning motion. This is what separates curling from an ice version of shuffleboard. The curling is where the strategy comes in to knock out your opponent’s rock of the circle area.
We were joined by a group of 6 coworkers. I love that these coworkers decided to change up their hangout night with an intro to curling class too. They were really fun to hang out with. We played a few innings where my husband and I each scored a point.
The sweeping position is where the cardio comes in. You could be booking it down the ice if the thrower’s rock comes down the ice fairly fast but still needs assistance getting to the targeted bullseye. We played several innings and loved how much fun we were having. Curling is interactive, takes teamwork and is just fun! I highly recommend trying this off the beaten path sport.
If you want to check out curling try Kalamazoo Curling Club or locate a curling club near you.