So, how about this curling thing. The first time I saw it, I thought, is this really an Olympic sport? No way. And then, I couldn’t look away. I was hooked. It was the craziest thing I’d ever seen. There was a circular chunk of stone gliding down a lane of ice and then there was someone literally sweeping the path in front of it. Then you notice, it looks similar to shuffleboard… okay, I think I’m getting it. But now I’m intrigued… where does this sport come from? what are the rules? and is there scoring?
Initially I thought this sport could have originated with ‘my people’ in the upper midwest. This screams of bored ice fishermen in the dead of winter, passing the time waiting for a bite on their line. But no. Its origin is actually Scotland, 16th century. But probably the same bored ice fishermen. One person sends a granite rock down the lane of ice - but its not just a hurling or tossing. It resembles more of a dancer, delicately guiding a partner, then slowly releasing them to dance on their own. Its very graceful. The rock is called a stone and weighs over 40 lbs. Then there is a sweeper, or two. They flank the stone as it glides down the lane. And the sweeping is SUPER critical. Have you watched and heard them yell at each other? The sweeping warms the ice and and can affect the speed and direction. The shoes the curlers wear are important too; one grips and one slips. And essentially, whosever stone is closest to the bullseye at the end of the game, gets a point. Siblings Matt and Becca Hamilton participated in the first Olympic mixed doubles in PyeongChang, South Korea. They are from Wisconsin, so... the upper midwest is totally representing.
Matt and Becca Hamilton curling at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Image Source Vulture.com