Winter is for Everyone:
Curling is Actually a Blast ...
I Know, I was Surprised, Too
When I first heard the word “curling,” I was six years-old. At that time, curling was synonymous with babysitters – lots of them, every Friday night from November to March. Eventually I had a hazy idea that my parents abandoned me weekly to play a cold, crazy sport, to which they brought weird foot sliders and brooms without bristles.
Occasionally, when my parents exhausted their babysitter call list, my brother and I had to accompany them to the club, where the only things slightly worthy of a kid’s attention were a Welch’s pop machine and a “Wake Up Giants” game that got old after you understood it was actually math in disguise. On the rink, separated by a pane of glass, the adults were clustered around some arrangement of red and yellow stones on targets – deciphering, calculating, cajoling. And yelling – lots of emphatic yells of “sweep!” and “Up! Up! Up!”
To this folly, six- or seven- or eight-year-old Kinzy said, “yawn.”
So when my parents approached me and my boyfriend last year with the prospect of joining the Mixed League, I stiffened. Boring ice game? With my parents? On Friday nights? But we somehow got corralled into attending the open house … signing release forms … and writing out checks to become members.
I somehow came to really enjoy the “lifetime sport” of curling. I welcome the sounds of the rink — the muffled rumblings of 40-pound stones steadily sliding, the satisfying crack of a takeout-rock hitting its intended target. I’ve come to love the sportsmanlike traditions of the game. The hearty handshakes and declarations of “Good Curling.” Skilled shots rarely go uncomplimented, while bad shots are politely ignored.
And now, with the addition of a new “Starter League,” citizens of the Chippewa Valley (aka YOU!) have the unique opportunity to try this strange old Scottish sport. The workshops are free, and your friends are doing it — so we’ve just exhausted that Excuse Arsenal of yours. Throw a rock. Sweep vigorously. Eat, drink, and socialize, because as much as the sport is about upholding rituals and courtesy, it’s also about a kidlike sense of fun, which, ironically, wasn’t clear to me as a child.
Free Curling Open Houses January 4, 10, and 11 • Eau Claire Curling Club on the EC County Expo Grounds (near Action City) • 6-7:30pm • FREE • eccurling.blogspot.com
New Curling Starter League Monday evenings, Jan. 18 to March 15 • Eau Claire Curling Club • 6:30-8:30pm • $300 per team for an eight-week season • eccurling.blogspot.com