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Curling in the 608

You go, curl.

curling sheet

Can’t get enough of the cold? Give curling a try this winter.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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If you think curling is just something you watch once every four years, think again. Madison Curling Club and the Wisconsin State Curling Association are hosting lessons, league play, and group events year-round.

And since curling is a sport that often gets swept under the rug, we thought we’d clue you into some of the most fun you can have on ice.

🥌 Curling? Like a salon?

Okay, we admit that we didn’t know a ton about “The Roarin’ Game” at first. Luckily, the curling community wants everyone to play, so it’s easy to learn the lingo.

The goal of curling is to get the stone (the smooth, 42-pound rock with a handle on top) into the house (the bullseye-looking marks on each end of the ice). You get one point for each stone that lands closer to the button (the bullseye) than any opposing stone.

What’s up with the sweeping? Because the ice is a little rough (pebbled), sweepers clear a path. This reduces friction, but also alters the path of the stone, called a curl. Hence, curling.

🥌 Sounds complicated…

It is. Knowing when to sweep a line, let it curl, throw up a blocker, or knock opposing stones out of the house is part of why curling is called chess on ice.

But the heart of the game is sportsmanship. For example, “broomstacking” is a tradition where the winning team buys the losing team a drink after the game — which is why some facilities have a bar onsite.

🥌 I’m in.

While Madison Curling Club had to momentarily cease its open houses and Learn2Curl events due to COVID-19, the onboarding process includes an in-depth instructional program for new curlers who have never been on the ice before. Otherwise, the Madison club suggests checking out the Wisconsin State Curling Association for more curling clubs in the area and resources on everything from Learn to Curl events to competitive bonspiels (curling tournaments).