By Emma Luther
Ever heard of curling before? You know the Olympic sport with the people brushing brooms on the ice to try to get a rock into the circles?
Well guess what, Kalamazoo has a curling club and is looking for Western Michigan University students to make a team.
Every Monday night, the Kalamazoo Curling Club gets together to play this historical sport.
“Curling is a very social game — a gentlemen’s sport. Not that women aren’t allowed to play, but it’s very sportsman like. Etiquette is the name of the game,” said Jason Hall, the vice president of the Kalamazoo Curling Club.
Curling is a very old sport originally starting in Scotland in the 16th century. Scottish farmers curled on frozen marshes using “channel stones,” which were naturally smoothed by the water. Scottish immigrants brought the sport over to give the sport its start in North America around 1759.
Here’s a short description of how the game is played. A game is made up of eight or 10 ends (like innings in baseball). An end consists of each team member shooting (delivering) two rocks, or stones, alternately with the opponent’s player at the same position.
When all 16 rocks have been delivered, the score for that end is determined. The broom action is to not only to keep the rock moving at a steady pace, but to keep the stone on a straight path towards the circles.
“Curling is like chess on ice,” Hall said. “There’s a lot of strategy to it.”
Curling is a team game, and all four team member’s efforts contribute directly to each shot. Teams can be composed of both sexes and all ages, and like golf, curling is a lifetime sport.
“The object of the game is for you to try to get as many of your stones as close to the middle as you can,” Hall said.
It just so happens that the National Curling Championships are taking place in Kalamazoo this March, just after the Winter Olympics in February.
The Kalamazoo Curling Club meets every Monday night from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the Annex at Wings Stadium. It costs $10 a person to play for two hours and all you need are some warm clothes and a pair of clean tennis shoes.
For more information and contact info on the Kalamazoo Curling Club, go to www.kalamazoocurlingclub.com.