Today as I drove home from school a most miraculous thing happened. I heard not one, not two, but a blissfully eternal stream of Christmas music dancing from my speakers. I haven’t been this excited since Kevin rejoined the Backstreet Boys in July.
Naturally I rushed home, made a hot cup of cider, and started work on this blog. Christmas time really is the most wonderful time of year, evoking thoughts of gingerbread, starry-lit houses, and snowy nights. These wintery images lead perfectly into today’s theme: curling.
Not everyone is familiar with this icy niche sport despite its Olympic appearances, which is a real pity. After being roped into $5 learn-to-curl session by a friend/Sooner Curling Club Preisdent, I found that curling is actually a pretty cool pastime. (Let the pun count commence)
Thrower: Throws the rock. Obviously.
Sweepers: Two players run alongside the rock with “brooms” (poorly pictured below) sweeping the rock’s path clear.
Skipper: Stands on the house and instructs the thrower how to cast the rock.
The rules of curling are similar to those of bocce ball and shuffle board. The objective is to slide 40 lb. “rocks” across the ice so that they land on bulls eyes painted beneath the ice. Two teams alternate sliding their rocks, and the team with the highest number of rocks closest to the center wins the game. Sounds simple enough, right?
One does not simply throw a rock. Oh no. First you must turn the rock correctly, position your wrist for spin, slide your left foot back, raise your hips as awkwardly high as possible, support yourself on a broom, and launch yourself from a frighteningly small pedestal. While you’re sliding helplessly along the ice, you must then hurl an enormous rock all the way to the opposite side of the rink. Now, when faced with falling, the worst thing to do is lose your cool, and you will fall at least once. Trust me; throwing is harder than it looks, friends.
As you can see, I as a newbie (pictured left) clearly have the same technique as a long-time curling professional (pictured right) despite my I-might-fall-at-any-time appearance.
Despite the initial cold feet of embarrassment and our team’s chilling defeat, I enjoyed myself far more than anticipated. I was pleasantly surprised the sport was gentle enough for my arthritic-cursed knees, but still rough enough to leave some nasty bruises. Turns out curling is an icy-hearted mistress, if you catch my drift.
If you’ve never curled before (meaning you don’t live in Canada,) I highly suggest giving it a go. Bring some hot chocolate, a Christmas playlist for the car, and make a seasonal date of it. Who knows, you may be pleasantly surprised.
P.S. How many puns did you count? You may want to reread; there’s 8.