Monday, January 25, 2010


The Fairbanks Curling Club was built entirely by its members. The pride of the establishment's heritage shows in the historical photos that line the walls, featuring men and woman with brooms; and in the trophy cases filled with championships both young and old.
The sport of curling is amazing. To me, the scoring concept is similar to bocce; and the technology that has been introduced to the game itself lends to precision and practiced methods. We began with an overview video and then headed down to the sheets (or lanes of ice on which the game is played) to practice what we learned. We split into groups, shook hands, said, "Good Curl" in the tradition of good sportsmanship and proceeded to have a great time.

The students loved it, and their energy in sweeping generated lots of laughter and even a couple of spills on the ice. Here I am in the racks, or for those with track backgrounds, the blocks. These are frozen into the ice. Only one foot goes into the hack. As I am right handed, my right foot dug in while my left foot was placed on a slider (since we were in non-curling shoes). For lefties, it is just the opposite. In my hands is a modified broom (to stabilize my stance) and a rock/stone. To curl, you squat, center your weight, then lift up your bum and draw back your left leg and the rock. Your hand holds the rock in the 12 o'clock position.

And then you launch. As one fluid motion, you have to glide out of the hack and place your weight onto your left leg, extended the right leg behind you. As you do this, you need to turn your wrist to either to the 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock position to enable it to curl down the path and head in a particular direction (to either bump another player's rock or strategically place your own for the team).

You release the rock either before or at the hog line (not my terms), which the thick black line you see below. My form is not perfect, as my leg should be extended without my knee touching the ground (hence the large purple bruise on it now); but I blame my shoes; but back is straight and my shoulders square with the hog line.
And my lil' rock that could glided along the center line the whole way to the tee line, well almost the tee line.

Unfortunately, Kodiak does not have a curling club nor a rink suited for sheets. Hopefully, Seward will offer me the chance to hone my skillz (yeah, with a z).

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