Curling, even though being recognized as an Olympic medal sport, is still unfamiliar to many. Just what is this sport and how is played? Simply put, curling is a sport played on ice where players slide granite rocks down the playing field. As the rocks travel, they have will often curve, or “curl”, during play. That’s this reason behind the name “curling.” A stone that’s believed to have been used in the game was discovered and dates completely back in 1511. Two pieces of artwork from 1565 that were painted by Pieter Bruegel, the Elder show Dutch peasants actively playing the game. In early days there is no unique stone used, so there is not a lot of command over the throw. By 1807 the sport had spread to North America.
There is specific equipment that required for curling. The first thing you will need is the stone. The stone weighed between 38 and 44 pounds and made of refined granite. There’s a handle connected to the top. The stone is launched by the “thrower” down the “sheet”, as the ice is called, towards the “house” or target.
This unique sport first came into existence on the frozen ponds and lakes of Northern Europe. During a curling competition, two teams of four players will slide hefty granite rocks across a 130’ x 15’ sheet of ice. The rocks travel down the ice toward the centre, which is similar to an archery format. The designated areas are painted just below the surface of the ice at both ends, which allows the rocks to be played back and forth during a series of competitions.
Each curling game will consist of sixteen rocks thrown out, following the conclusion, a score is recorded. Each team will score one point for each rock that is determined to be closest to the centre. Very similar to the strategy of baseball, only one team can score during any given play. One of the unique features of curling is the incorporation of sweeping. When a player sweeps the ice, they are essentially brushing it at a rapid pace to keep the rock moving. The process of sweeping helps to polish the ice and helps to promote a more distant, straight moving rock.
Curling is a popular sport that played in over 20 countries, including North America, Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. A large majority of curling players reside in the United States, Scotland and Canada. Mostly played indoors, curling is a popular sport for fans who prefer to be protected from mother nature while enjoying a sports event. Even though many are still unfamiliar with curling as a sport, it’s awareness has increased since the 2002 Olympic games, which happened in Salt Lake City, Utah. Cable television covered the events worldwide, and many sports enthusiasts testified to the unique aspect of curling. In fact, curling was also a popular sport in the recent 2006 Olympic Winter Games, which occurred in Turin, Italy.