The Rules of Curling
Rules to Curling
Overview of the Rules of Curling
If you haven't noticed, the popularity of curling in the past few weeks has increased thanks to the 2010 Olympic games held in Vancouver. Curling was broadcast on NBC a lot. It seemed like every time I turned on the TV, some goofy looking Norwegian guy was sliding a big heavy rock across the ice. Then three sweepers violently swept the ice in front of the curling stone. It didn't take long to get America hooked. When I went to my Kenan soccer game all Kevin, Tim, and I talked about before the game was curling. With all this gain in popularity, it seems like a good time to explain the rules. The rules are actually fairly simple to learn, even though the game may seem complicated at first.
A curling match is played when two teams of four players each compete against each other. There are nine ends, which are comparable to innings, in which the teams can score points. There are eight stones thrown from each team per end. The teams alternate turns after every stone. Now a lot of people seem to think that there is only one person who throws the stones, and the rest are just sweepers. This is not true. Each player throws two stones in each end. Each end starts with the leads, followed by the seconds, then the thirds, and finally the skips, who throw the last stones.
You may be asking yourself hey, what is all of this crazy sweeping that is going on. Well, this crazy sweeping actually makes the stones go further. It does not make them go faster however. How does it do this? Well, on the ice there are little pebbles. Not stone pebbles, they are little frozen ice pebbles that help the stone to curl. But if these pebbles are brushed out of the way the stone will slide easier and straighter. Also if brushed fast enough the ice will actually melt temporarily, and freeze smoother than before, making the stone slide more freely.
The game typically lasts about two hours. The ice sheet is 15 feet wide, and 138 feet long from hack to hack. Hacks are the footrests, where the curling delivery begins. The houses at each end are 12 feet in diameter. The rings are eight feet, four feet, and one foot. The one foot circle is called the button.
The stones are 42 pounds, and are thrown by pushing off the hacks, and releasing the stone before the foul line. Points are scored at the completion of each end. If your team has the closest stone to the button, then you get a point. Also if you have the two closest stones to the button, or three closest stones, you get that amount of points. The scoring is comparable to bocce. A maximum of eight points can be scored on one end, but this almost never happens.
In the Vancouver Olympics, Canada won curling making it the 13th gold they won during the 2010 olympics. They beat the Norwegian team with the trademark red and white diamond patterned pants. Since the Olympics greatly increased the popularity of curling in the United States, I would expect to see it become more accepted. Also if you are looking to go curling, the nearest curling center is the Niagara Falls Curling Club in Canada.
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