March 3, 2010

MORE SWEEPING, MORE YELLING:

Rocks on Ice: The Triangle Curling Club explains one of the more obscure—and inviting—Olympic sports (Ty Johnson, 2/24/10, indyWeek)

The Scottish roots of the game aren't nearly as evident as those of Lance Wright, however, a member of the Triangle Curling Club who sports a kilt on the ice to drum up excitement for events. Wright doesn't curl in his kilt, for a more obvious reason than the kneeling, sliding and stretching required.

"I don't curl in a kilt because it's bloody cold," he said, refusing to reveal whether the kilt was all that was protecting him from the ice as he tutored a trio of undergraduates on Duke's rowing team.

The Triangle Curling Club, an organization based at The Factory of Wake Forest's Polar Ice House, brings one of the more obscure sports at the Winter Games to North Carolina through a series of open-house sessions intended to introduce casual spectators to the sport, which could be described as a lawn darts-shuffleboard hybrid played on ice.

The sport, created sometime in the 15th century, is ancient compared to such popular team sports as basketball and hockey, and it also requires a certain skill not utilized in more familiar pastimes: the strength and poise to accurately sling a granite rock weighing about the same as a 5-year-old child down an ice rink in hopes it will land on a bull's-eye. [...]

For some like me, the open house is a chance to try out the sport and to come away saying it's a lot harder than it looks, but for at least three visitors—the Duke rowers—at a recent session, curling seems to be a life goal. "We had been telling one of our assistant coaches about our life goals," Tori Arendt said, when the conversation turned to winter sports and, eventually, curling.

"We were like 'We've always wanted to try that,' and he said it's hard to find curling places because it's a very weird sport," Arendt said. "We're rowers, so obviously we're used to weird sports."

The three said they will be back at least once more, though, for a "Learn to Curl" event, an experience that is more detail-intensive, according to Kathy Jackson, a TCC member.

"Tonight all we wanted to do was let people touch a rock and throw a rock and sweep a rock," Jackson said. "Because for a lot of people, that's all they really want to do. That's enough for them."

Jackson said the "Learn to Curl" sessions are for those who have attended an open house and want more sweeping, delivering and yelling.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 3, 2010 7:31 AM
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