Saturday, March 22, 2014

Curling

No, not curling hair. The winter sport. You know, the one with ice and brooms and a big rock with a handle. Looks something like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2MagIsyupM

First of all, I’d like to say that I owe an apology to the curling world. Curling looks so easy on the above video, right? Those ladies look like people you might actually know. They are wearing earrings. They just glide across the ice and do their sweeping thing like it's the easiest thing in the world.

This is not true.

The day started out quite normally. I went to lunch with a friend. See, we look pretty normal here, right?

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Well, we picked up another friend and headed to the curling hall, where we met up with a family of friends – my three skiing buddies and their dad. I wish I had a picture of the outside of the curling hall, because it was pretty dodgy.

We went inside, bought our tickets (only about $2 for 4 hours of curling), and changed into the rental curling shoes. We had to put special covers over our left shoes. The covers either made us slide more or slide less. For at least 6 of us (you may remember that there were only 7 of us total), it was our first time curling. So we were all pretty clueless. The shoes were so slippery that we almost wiped out walking across the wooden floor. You can imagine what happened when we hit the ice.

The ice is MUCH SLICKER than it appears. And I think the shoes are designed to provide maximum slippage. Here are someone’s shoes:

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Three people had researched a little bit about curling, so they started a fast English discussion about curling rules or strategy or something. After a few minutes, I turned to a friend who is a native Japanese speaker and said that I had no idea what they were talking about. She laughed and said that she thought she just wasn’t keeping up with the English. Nope. That was a whole different language. Curlinglish.

We practiced for a while, and then started up a game.

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Somehow, we played 4 rounds and scored nothing.

I can’t imagine how that happened.

Take a minute to paint this picture in your mind. The person with the stone kicks off and gracefully glides across the ice on one knee. She releases the stone. It slides down the ice, and she tumbles over. The sweepers are ready to sweep. But the stone passes them, and they can’t catch up with it. “Come back, stone!” They chase it down the ice, and one tumbles over along the way.

Not every time was quite like that, though. Sometimes, we felt like real curlers. The stone slid by at just the right speed, the sweepers swept, and the stone landed in just the right spot. Then, the other team would come and knock the stone right out of the circle. Hey!

It was really fun, through. Sliding the stone was cool. It weighs around 40 lbs, so it is quite heavy. But once you get it going, it has really good momentum. It can even pull you along for a little bit if you fall over and don’t let go.

I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I must say that there was one area where I think I came out ahead of everyone. That was in the Falling Over division. Probably the goofiest was when I strode out on the ice to sweep. I said, “I’m not very good with the brooooooooo,” CRASH!

All in all, it was a great time. It was fun to try a new sport, especially with a bunch of other people who had also not tried it before. And the next time you see curling in the Winter Olympics or something, I hope you will remember that curling is NOT as easy as it looks!

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1 comment:

Sharon said...

Oh my! I watched the video--part of it--and the earrings are a hoot! It looks like slow motion billiards. And, you are right, it looks very simple and easy. I can't imagine how much laughter must have been shared among the 7 non curlers and the 1 experienced curler. Just staying upright on the ice must have been a challenge! Maybe they should issue knee and rump pillows in addition to the shoe covers???