I played pretty well, by my standards, in this week’s curling match. As it happens we won, but that doesn’t really matter, and that goes to the heart of why I love curling…
Er, of course, it *does* matter if you win or lose! From social club curling right up to the Olympics, you start the game intending to win, and curling can be fiercely competitive. The impact that the sweeping has on the game means that you can get some big bruisers playing the game, lots of physical athleticism.
It’s not a game that’s been twisted by money, so the traditions hold firm –
- you shake hands before the game and wish your opponent a good game.
- if they play a good shot, you congratulate them.
- if you commit a foul, you call it yourself, even if no-one else saw it.
- you shake hands after the game, and the winners buy the losers a drink.
Politeness, etiquette, fair play – qualities that can be so sorely lacking in today’s sporting world, and it’s why the curling community enjoys playing in our little known bubble, our undiscovered gem.
I say ‘little known’, but that’s as an Englishman. It’s a massive sport in many countries, but as I write there is only one single curling rink in England, Fenton’s rink in kent, so whenever I mention the game to people, they only know of it from watching the Olympics every 4 years.
Yes that’s how I came across the game in 2002, when the GB women won gold. After watching again in 2006 I decided to do something about giving it a go, and that’s when I discovered the rink.
Since then I’ve been trying to nudge others to discover the game, and when you play the game, you get all sorts of people playing together –
- men and women playing together
- newbies and internationals playing together
- young and old playing together
- good lookers and uglies playing together
Don’t get me wrong, I did mention the competitive edge to go along with the politeness, and when you get on the ice, you want to knock seven bells out of the opposition. There’s nothing like sliding a 42 pound slab of granite down 40+ metres of ice to bang an opponent’s stone out of the way, or placing that slab of granite on a pinpoint perfect spot with no brakes.
For a polite social sport, which can still be as competitive as you want, there’s nothing better than curling. Enjoy watching it at the Olympics sure, but better still, get yourself out there and give it a go!
‘Til next time,
Health & happiness,
P.S. If you can get yourself down to Kent, it’s great fun – full equipment and training provided, fully licensed bar, catering available. Christmas parties, stag/hen parties, birthdays, or just for the fun of it!