Canada was made for winter sports! Let’s face it, you can either stay inside most of the time between November and March, or you can embrace the cold, drizzly, snowy weather (insert your local weather conditions). You are not alone in your pursuit of the perfect winter activity. Much of Canada has found that they either can stay home and experience cabin fever or find a way to be social in spite of the long winter.
If you had been watching the Winter Olympics, you know that two of the most watched sports are Hockey and Curling. Canadian athletes have excelled in these sports for decades. But be honest, would you watch Curling during regular competitions?
Curling may not be your idea of an exciting spectator sport. Most of us find it has all the appeal of watching turtle races. Compared to our other national passion, Hockey, Curling involves slow precision, planning strategies in reaction to the opponents’ actions and what seems like a bunch of shouting and open tactical discussions.
A few years ago, we started hosting international exchange teachers and thought they might enjoy a typical Canadian winter sport. The event was a hit and I have to say I was hooked on Curling!
Our events included families, singles and people in their middle age. We would typically meet for a lesson that included learning how to throw the rock, gliding on the ice, the finer points of sweeping and the rules of how to score. After practicing our skills, we would break up into 2 teams and play a few ends or a full game, depending on the time. We would end our “bonspiel” with a nice lunch at a local restaurant. Traditionally, the winning team gets to buy drinks but we didn’t hold anyone to that rule this year.
Four Myths about Curling:
- Curling is for old folks who like to meet on weekday mornings. Curling is a sport that appeals to all ages. When we were out last Saturday, there was a young couple who were clearly on a date. You don’t have to look far (see this year’s Canadian Women’s Curling Team) to find many younger players enjoying the sport. Local Curling Clubs even have lessons for children.
- Curling is too hard. It requires physical agility. Yes, the pros make it look easy. The way they glide on the ice, releasing that rock… But if you are not as flexible as most, maybe you have bad knees, then you can use a stick to push the rock, much like shuffleboard. It’s easy to master. Curl BC even runs clinics for people with disabilities to learn to curl and join curling leagues.
- Curling will costs too much. Renting the ice is quite affordable. We were a group of 8 and it only cost us $5 each for 1.5 hrs of playtime. Check your local Curling Rink for details. As for equipment, you’ll need a clean pair of running shoes and warm clothes (you probably own all that).
- I am not a member of a Curling Club. A quick Google search reveals that there are 20 curling clubs listed in the Lower Mainland-Fraser Valley. The Langley Curling Club has a Monday Night Learn to Curl League. At a cost of $120 for 9 sessions, that’s a very affordable activity. Novice curlers can also join others to form a team for Saturday or Sunday games. Children as young as 5 years old can take lessons on Saturdays.
I’ve only curled a few times, but I have to say it’s given me a new appreciation for what I once thought was a slow game. Now that I understand the rules, I actually enjoy watching others compete. As for the social aspect, each time I mention that I’ve been curling, someone asks me if I’d like to join their league as they are always looking for more players. Now how friendly is that?