There are few things better than a continuous loop of watching sports paired with your own well-loved couch. With the Big Winter Games coming up, we will be firmly planted in front of the TV rooting for the USA and we know you will be right there alongside us. The never-ending coverage lends itself to us watching sports we otherwise never would.
One of the most unusual sports we all (kind of) know and love to watch is curling. Something about the crew of people sliding around a big rock on ice brings us back to our college days of beer pong or pond hockey or going out bowling with our crew. We set out to learn more about the seemingly down-to-earth sport to see if it was just as cool as we thought it was.
Listen up for some of the most important things you need to know before you turn on your TV February 9th.
What’s the deal with this sport of people yelling and sweeping brooms? Here’s what you need to know to act like you know what you’re talking about.
- Teams are made up of 4 players who shoot 40-pound stones (also called rocks) made of dense granite at a target on the other end of the sheet.
- Curling Rocks: The sport is so called because of the way you throw the rock down the ice. The way you brush it can cause the rock to curl one way or another, which depends on how you throw and the conditions of the ice.
- Sweeping: This is done to make the rocks travel farther or not as far down the ice. All team members take turns sweeping, except for the skip (appropriately named as the captain of the team).
- Keeping Score: Each team throws 8 rocks down the ice and the score for the end (or “inning”) is calculated by which team’s rocks are closer to the bullseye. Only one team can score in the end, and the team gets one point for every rock that is closest to the center of the bullseye.
- Strategy: The skip usually tells everyone what to do and helps figure out a strategy. They stand at the end of the ice and instruct the rest of the team how to sweep or how to throw to best place their shots on the target.
Kinds of shots (ways to throw the rock):
- Guards- Block the house (or target)
- Draws- Get around the guards to land in the house
- Takeouts- Hard shots that take out other stones in play
- Last shot- This is called the hammer and can appropriately knock other’s rocks out of play
Our final verdict: Curling is obviously a game of great strategy and skill, but not complicated enough to confuse those interested in watching. Strong, gritty, and resilient, it seems like the everyman sport. A lot of cities offer curling clubs where you can try out the sport with your own buddies after you’re full of inspiration and decide to get off the couch in March.
Even if you’re more of a spectator in ice sports, we have you covered in our Vibram Arctic Grip boots that give you the most extreme grip and traction on wet ice so you stay confidently on your feet (and warm in the stands).
Good sportsmanship, which is often thought of as ‘the spirit of curling’ is an important part of the game. You should always congratulate the other team on a good shot, and never cheer a mistake. Traditionally, the winning team has to buy the losers a drink after the match.
Cheers to that!