Now's your chance to throw rocks at the house
At a recent workshop for curlers, people were smiling. Some stared in amazement at the strange positions one must get into. Others marveled at the brush -- which looks like the Swiffer Sweeper with a sponge on the bottom. These brushes were tryin...
At a recent workshop for curlers, people were smiling. Some stared in amazement at the strange positions one must get into. Others marveled at the brush -- which looks like the Swiffer Sweeper with a sponge on the bottom. These brushes were trying to get a rock (imagine a round loaf of way-overcooked bread) across a sheet of ice.
If you are someone who likes to exercise, but have trouble finding something to do in the winter, curling might be the sport for you.
"You're going to learn how to use leg muscles in ways you've never used them before," said Dick Wicklund, the director of curling at the Duluth Curling Club.
Curling is becoming more popular, said Wicklund. There are between 400 and 500 members at the Duluth club. Almost every league is full.
Curling clubs have long been found throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, but this trend is expanding. Clubs are sprouting up in Texas, California and Arizona, among other places.
One of the reasons for this increasing popularity is the expanded Olympic coverage. The Duluth and Superior curling clubs provide another reason.
This past week, the DCC offered some classes for beginners. Next week the Superior Curling Club will offer an open-house.
According to Wicklund, if someone is interested in joining a curling club, they should not feel intimidated.
The Duluth club even offers an instructional league. This past Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the DCC offered an introductory session for all new curlers.
"It's been fun," said Rae Ann Smith, a participant in the Wednesday introductory session. "It's hard, but you can catch on quick."
"It's been great, it's a really good workout," said Lorraine Pauly, another participant. "I was really nervous (when I first got here)."
As far as ease in concerned, participants can be the judge of that.
"(It does not) look overly difficult," said Mark Amero, before trying out curling for the first time. "I said that about horseshoes in the past, but I almost killed people with those."
For all of those who are not familiar with curling, here's a quick tutorial.
Each team, which consists of four players, will slide eight rocks on a sheet of ice 140-feet long and 12-feet wide. This is done one at a time.
The goal is to slide these 43-pound granite rocks closest to the center of a large bull's eye, known as the house, at the other end of the sheet. The amount of rocks closer to the house, compared with the opponent's closest rocks, are scored as points.
These points are added up at the conclusion of each end. An end is like an inning in baseball, except there are 10 ends in a game of curling. The scores are then added up. Whoever has the most amount of points is the winner.
When these rocks are traveling across the sheet of ice, another team member sweeps in front of the rock in order to make it go farther and straighter. A person known as "the skip," who is also the team captain, helps determine which way the rock will go. They are the ones who determine the strategy of the team and point to where the other players should shoot their rocks.
League curling at the DCC begins Monday, Oct. 29 at the DECC. Afternoon DCC open senior curling will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 p.m. DCC junior curling registration will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30. The cost is $60. Junior sessions begin Tuesday, Nov. 6. An instructional league is held every Wednesday at 7 p.m. The cost is $125. For more information on these events call 727-1851 or visit www.duluthcurlingclub.org .
The Superior Curling Club, 4700 Tower Ave., will have an open-house/league sign-up from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1 and Friday, Nov. 2. League play will begin tentatively the week of Nov. 5. For more, call 392-2022 or visit www.superiorcurlingclub.com .