Curling is a sport where players slide stones across an ice sheet toward a goal area divided into four concentric circles. It’s similar to bowling, boules, and shuffleboard. Two teams of four players each slide heavy, polished granite stones, commonly known as rocks, over the ice curling sheet toward the house, a circular target marked on the ice. But what is the spirit of curling?
Good sportsmanship and courtesy are vital in curling. The “Spirit of Curling” includes congratulating opponents on good plays and refraining from trash talk.
The History of Curling
Curling originated in 16th-century Scotland, where it was played on ice ponds and lochs. A Scottish notary registered the first recorded match in 1541 between a monk at Paisley Abbey and a relative of the Abbott. The sport was brought to North America by Scottish immigrants: the first Canadian curling club opened in Montreal in 1807, and the first American club started in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1828. The first official curling rules were written in 1838 by the Royal Caledonian Curling Club in Scotland, the so-called mother club of curling.
Curling became a medal sport for the first time in the 1924 Olympics in Chamonix, France. Only the men competed, and Great Britain won gold but the entire team was Scottish. Curling made five appearances as an Olympic demonstration sport before being added to the Olympic program in Nagano in 1998: Lake Placid in 1932, Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936, Innsbruck in 1964, Calgary in 1988, and Albertville in 1992. Since 1998, Canada has won three Olympic gold medals in men’s curling, including the last three, while Switzerland and Norway have each won. Canada and Sweden have won two women’s gold medals in curling; the United Kingdom won the women’s gold in 2002.
The granite for curling stones is extracted from Ailsa Craig, an island off the west coast of Scotland that resembles a curling stone from a distance. (Source: Time)
What are the Rules of Curling and How do you Play the Game?
The relative simplicity of curling is a primary source of its appeal. Though the sport has unfamiliar names and appears complex, it is quite simple to follow.
Curling matches are made up of 10 ends, similar to baseball innings. The four players on each squad alternate tossing stones at either end. The lead throws first, the second, the third, or vice versa, and finally, the skip. Each of the contesting teams’ four players throws two stones at the end, for a total of 16. The skip is the team’s most important player. The skip not only throws the final stone in the end, which frequently determines the score but also leads to the overall plan.
A curler pushes a foot off the hack, a piece of rubber similar to a starting block, to complete a shot. The curler must release the stone before it touches the hog line as it slides across the ice or sheet. The stone then proceeds to the house, the area on the other side of the sheet with four concentric circles that resembles a dartboard. The house serves as the scoring area. (Source: Time)
Image from Euro Sport