When we were in Bemidji I saw a sign for the “Curling Center”. We wanted to learn more!
We might be from Michigan where curling is also played but it was never on our radar. I started Googling around to see if we could take lessons, get a demo, see curling in action, or even just see an arena where Curling was done.
I came across Curling clinics being offered by the Frogtown Curling Club in St. Paul.
And for free?
Sign. Us. Up!
We were having a busy few days in the area but extended our stay by a night to have time for the clinics.
So Uh, What Do We Do?
I vague-ishly knew Curling involved:
- Sliding what looked like kettlebells down an ice rink
- People frantically sweeping in front of it while it moved
- An ‘end zone’ that kinda looked like a rearranged shuffleboard court
Well, the last was really a guess but I did go to school briefly in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan and kept stats for the hockey team, so I think it was an educated guess.
If you want the true lowdown on the rules of the sport you can visit the Wikipedia page - but basically if you roll bowling, shuffleboard, and chess together, put it on ice, and add sweeping that’s Curling.
What’s With the Sweeping?
We were told that the sport was originally played on frozen rivers and the sweepers were needed to sweep the snow off the ice in front of the stone.
As the sport is played today the sweepers can influence both the speed and direction of the stone by how much and how hard they sweep in front of it. The experienced Curlers said sweeping could make a 4’ - 5’ difference in how far the stone would travel.