[Weekend Treat] Understanding CurlingPosted: February 14, 2010
I have not done anything to disguise my love for the Winter Olympics, and there are definitely certain events that I’m really looking forward to. It’s part humor (or is that humour?), part legitimate interest, but after watching way too much of it during 2006, I am nearly as excited for this year’s Curling bonspiel (that’s what they call the sport’s Round Robin Tournament) as I am for Olympic Hockey.
So, it isn’t the most well-known sport, but I got into it back during Torino because it was one of the few events that was broadcast live. Take into account I was a second semester Senior at BC, so it was a great mid-morning TV, not to mention it was the most successful the Americans had ever been in the sport, and the picture starts to make more sense.
Well, it doesn’t always make sense to everyone, but Uni Watch has a great guide to get everyone through the sport. Here’s the breakdown, thanks to the UW team:
4 guys (or gals) each throw a two rocks and try to get them to land in the “house” (that bullseye-type thing). Now, a good thrower can usually get the rock to stay in the house. But there is a reason the sport is called “curling” and that has to do with the way the rock is released and travels down the “sheet” (ice). You have probably noticed, if you have ever watched curling, that some members of the rink are carrying what look like giant squeegies or mops. These are called brooms, and are used to assist the rock on it’s journey toward the house. Sweeping in front of the moving stones can affect both the distance traveled, and the amount of curling a stone does on it’s way down the sheet of ice. Until recently the brooms resembled ordinary household cornbrooms.
Scoring is relatively simple. A team receives one point for each of their rocks that are within the house and are closer to the center than any of the opposition’s stones. Only one team can score points in an end. To score, a team must have stones within the house and closer to the “button” (the eye of the bullseye) than any of its opponent’s stones. Each stone that meets these criteria is worth one point…A full game consists of ten ends and the team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner!
I can’t imagine a sport I want to play more and/or could be competitive in on a global scale. Plus, when you get shots like this, how does it not remind you of something you’ve done in recreational games during college:
The final point is that it’s hard for me to argue with any sport that lends itself to puns. Especially when the US Curling Association so openly embraces them – the official site for the USCA is CurlingRocks.net – you know I’m completely on board.
The American men’s first match is on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. PST against the Germans, right during the lunch hour here on the east coast. Meet the entire US Olympic team, both men’s and women’s rinks, here.
H/t to Brian of BC Interruption for sharing the UW link this morning.