What Even is Curling?

-By, Kiran Butte and Sophie Stone

Curling at Winsor seems to be shrouded in mystery and confusion. What does a curler do? Does one curl, or do curling? What could possibly be the appeal of throwing a stone across ice and furiously sweeping the space in front of it? Despite its prevalence as a winter sport, Winsor girls are still confused about what this sport is all about.

In fact, curling has a long and proud history. Though its exact origins are undetermined, curling is believed to be one of the oldest team sports. Archaeological evidence of a curling stone (the apparently famous Stirling Stone) inscribed with the date 1511 turned up, along with another bearing the date 1551, when an old pond was drained at Dunblane, Scotland. But what started as an enjoyable pastime for harsh Northern European winters spread across the world. The official rules for curling as we know it today were set in 1848 by the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (RCCC), and have remained effectively the same ever since. The sport is now most well established in Canada due to a large faction of Scottish immigrants. According to the official World Curling Rankings, Canada had the highest overall score internationally. Curling, having appeared in the 18th century in the US, has evolved into the sport that Winsor girls know today.

The sport of curling is simple in theory. Player slide stones (forty pound circles of polished granite) across a sheet of ice towards a target area comprised of four concentric circles. The teams are made of of four players. Each team has a head, called the skip, and there are two people that sweep. Each team has eight stones that they will “throw” in an attempt to gain the most amount of points. In one game of curling ,a team plays a certain number of smaller games which are called ends. In one end, only one of the teams can score points. A team scores when a stone lands on the target which is called the house. But only one team gets the points, so whichever team has the closest stones to the middle of the house gets the points. So each team’s stone that is closer to the middle of the target than the nearest stone of the opposing team gets 1 point. Whichever team has the most points at the end of the game, wins.

When asked the one thing she wanted Winsor to know about curling, Lena wanted to clear up the basics. She responded simply, “We are a real team. We have fun and we win.” She had decided to try curling because she thought it would be “fun,” but part of the appeal was that “people made fun of it,” playfully acknowledging the oddity of the sport and its general perception. But her favorite moment thus far? “When me and my team won the Curling League Championships.”