December 06, 2011 | Tips from Travellers >
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Today I had the opportunity to try a sport that I’ve never played before
in my entire life: curling. I remember watching the intense and
strategic games of curling during the Olympics, but beyond that the
closest I’ve come is bocce ball, which is not very close.
headed down to the Richmond Curling Rink, located kiddy corner to the
Richmond Olympic Oval. They have a great facility including eight sheets
of ice (play areas), a café, pro shop, and a huge sports bar and lounge
with a fantastic observation area overlooking the arena.
arrived with my friend Colin, who is an avid curling enthusiast and was
eager to get on the ice and throw some rocks with me. Before we began
however, I was introduced to the local resident expert Kim, who was more
than happy to show and explain the ropes of the game to me. Curling is
an interesting sport as it’s extremely technical and all about finesse.
The most common beginner mistake is throwing the rock too hard- a lot of
times it’s the gentler, steady shots that win a given game. As I
watched the various games going on around me, it became immediately
apparent the huge amount of strategy and positioning involved in
curling. This can be a dirty game! When I say that I mean like chess
dirty—out maneuvering and one-upping your opponent. I like it.
objective of curling is to push a 44 pound rock down the playing area,
called the sheet, and try to land it in the ‘button’ (bulls-eye) at the
far end. It is essentially a huge target on the ice about 146 feet away
from where you start. Frozen bocce on crack is a good analogy.
a quick on ice lesson on proper rock throwing technique (I was awful,
despite what Kim says), as well as a briefing on sweeping techniques
(yes, women sweep better than men- ha!), I was ready to try my luck! I
positioned myself and placed my foot in the ‘hack’ (like a starting
block used to push off of), broom in hand for support, and grabbed my
rock. Eyes on the target, I pushed off and launched my rock. I soon
found out that it’s imperative to the game of curling that you keep your
rock on your sheet of ice and not your neighbour’s. You don’t get
points for completely missing your target and landing it next door. Ha!
Well, despite my lack of curling skills I had a blast and it was a great
Colin soon challenged me to a three rock game
for beers upstairs afterwards. Since I know you’ve watched the video you
all know how that turned out. J Winter ale with winter sports. I love
If you’re interested in trying some curling or already are a
curler, the Richmond Curling Rink offers league play, tournaments, train
and plays, event hosting and sheet rental. Of course if you’re a
‘gifted curler’ like me, the bar and observation deck upstairs are also
an excellent choice! Definitely check them out and have some fun!