Saturday, March 6, 2010
I am a Curler!
This morning I went to an Open House at the Rochester Curling Club. The event started at 10AM and I arrived about 9:45 AM. The place was mobbed! I parked down the street and waited in line to get in the building-and they had started letting people in early. I signed a release form (apparently, curling can kill you), got some grippers that fit over my sneakers and continued in line. We were greeted by the club president then watched a short video about curling. Then we waited in line to get on the ice, making room for the next group to watch the video. There were a ton of people and more coming in every minute. I guess I'm not the only one who'd become enthralled with curling. Although I was prepared for a long wait, suddenly they asked for any singles. That's me! (People went on the ice in groups of 4,I, of course, was by myself.) So I was in a group with a father and son (kid was probably about 12) and another guy, maybe my age. We started learning to sweep. We were only using half of the sheet. OK. I've said that curling is more a game than a sport. WRONG!!!! Oh my God! Sweeping is hard. I was huffing and puffing-only using half the length of the sheet. Jeeze. Maybe I was too out of shape to curl. Then we went to the next station-learning to deliver the stone. You put your right foot in a starting block thingie, then put your left on top of a slider. The slider is a super slippery thing in the shape of your foot to help you slide and release. We also used a contraption to hold onto to help balance. Let me tell you, it's a lot harder than it looks. We were all falling all over the place, instructors grabbing on to keep us somewhat upright. And we didn't even release the stone! Then the final stop-a full sheet of ice. One would deliver the stone the whole way and 2 would sweep. The guy and I started as sweepers. Of course, none of us had ever thrown a stone-so who knew how much velocity you needed? The father threw first and the guy and I swept, swept, swept...but it wasn't going much of anywhere. It didn't get halfway down. The son had about the same distance. Then it was my turn. OK. Two younger guys were instructing us with another guy at the far end acting as skip, telling us where to deliver the rock. The guy shows me where the skip is pointing and says how to curl the stone there. Huh? "When you release turn your hand so the C on the stone is pointed up." Ohh-OK. So foot in place, other foot on slidey thing, hold on to plastic thing, forward, back and release!!!! Well, my gripper came off my right foot, the slidey thing went forward down the ice, and I was almost flat down. But, my shot was perfect! The one young guy looked at me "that was a great shot". As I stood back up, the other came over and said, "great shot". Huh. And so I decided to become a curler. They actually were having a beginners league-but it was Fridays from 8PM-10PM. Can't do it. Too close to work. Stupid work interfering with life. I asked about other options. I was told they do have a daytime league-one group on Mondays, one on Wednesdays, but I'd have to talk to the people to see if they'd let me in. I was sent off to find Gail. Meanwhile, the place is even more jam packed. You can barely move. Still, I thread my way through the throng to get back to the ice. I talk to Gail (one of the ladies teaching me to sweep) who introduced me to Lois. Lois is in charge of the Monday group and she welcomed me in. In fact, she told me to come early and she'll help me one on one-so I'll have a bit of a clue. So, I joined the Rochester Curling Club! There are only about 4 weeks left in the season, but I'm looking forward to learning a new sport and meeting some new people.