How hard could it be to push a rock across the ice?
Well, pretty hard, actually.
So curling is sort of like crouching down and pushing yourself off of a set of starters blocks to begin a sprint on a track, except instead of a running track you are on the ice–which is specially textured so it is not as slippery as it is for skating. Anyway, picture a sprinter, one foot (for your stronger leg) in the blocks, one foot planted on the track. Now imagine the foot ( your weaker leg) on the track has a huge Magic Slider under it. Instead of balancing on your fingers you have one hand on a 42 pound stone with a handle on it and one hand holding a tiny little PVC hurdle. Your butt is lowered, so you are upright. Push off with your stronger leg off those starting blocks and then that leg drag behind you…and end up in sort of a low warrior yoga pose while sliding down the ice with one hand on the hurdle (which experienced players don’t use) one foot (your weaker foot) on that Magic Slider, one hand on the rock with a handle, and one knee and ankle dragging behind you. Just dandy for me, who had an ACL replaced in 1998. I think the warranty on that ACL is about up, and my ankle with the bone spurs is on my right side, too.
So if you can stay upright sliding down the ice and haven’t let go of your rock you do need to let go of it eventually. That is the point where I usually fell over.
Oh, and you have to impart a spin to the stone, too.
The idea is to slide the stone with just enough force to slide into a round target on the ice called the ‘house,’ and stop.
Then there’s the ‘sweeping,’ which your teammates do to smooth the ice so the stone goes farther, which you don’t always need to do. Got all that?
The direction you rotate the stone and pace of the sweeping is dictated by the ‘skip’. After the thrower releases their rock,he skip yells to “sweep,” Then the skip yells “HARD!” which means the two teammates have to work harder. Or the skip just likes to yell. Our skip was Jay Diamond, who was really good at yelling. And he liked it, too.
Everyone liked yelling. The ice was divided into about ten ‘sheets,’ for the curling, which is a curling term for lane–there was a ‘house,’ at each endof the ice, and each team had 8 rocks to try to get close to the house. Two teams share a lane, and once every stone is propelled to the far house, they line up and DO IT AGAIN, down to the other end. Ten times. If a team six lanes away get a good shot, everyone on the ice yelled. Maybe it was because they have flasks hidden in their brooms.
Sliding down the ice and trying not to fall was tough, but doing the sweeping was tougher. Hard work! By the time I was done, I was heavily into the aerobic training zone. My ribs still hurt.