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Is Curling A True Sport?

March 9, 2010
By

The Jury Still Out: Is Curling is a true sport?

See for Yourself this Week at Kalamazoo Wings Stadium: Free Tix Available!

The Vancouver winter games were the best ever (U.S. boast 37 medals).  Death defying skills…Bobsled and Alpine Skiing at 90 mph’s,  Sean White’s immortal, 2-story  Double McTwist. Need I mention the Hockey…oh, and the figure skating?  Please!  And, yet some people couldn’t take their eyes off of Curling.  MSNBC, that aired the Curling competition, surprised itself with huge viewer ship numbers.  Wow!

I tried it over at Wings Stadium during a preview of this week’s action, and I’ll admit a “Curler” must possess a level of skill and accuracy, but a sport?  I dunno?

I really think all the bluster is entirely connected to the fact that it’s one of those “sports” coupled with another well honed activity.  You know the 12-ounce curl!

Is it really a sport when tossing a few back is nearly compulsory while participating?  You see, the drinking is a back-up sport like in golf or bowling.  How often have you had to buy a round for your team for the BEER frame?”    During a 9-hole outing, how many times has the beer cart been flagged over your way?

Let’s take slow pitch softball for example.  A certain amount of athleticism is required to hit the ball and run around the bases, but that’s pretty much where it begins and ends.  I went to watch a game at local Versluis Field last summer, and I had the impression I was at an outdoor bar.  The “back-up sport” was in full swing—its own competition of sorts.  How many Jell-O shots and beers can one consume during a 7-inning contest and still remain standing?

If your favorite ‘sport’ is bowling or golf, living at Dover Hills has its advantages.  There is a bowling alley and golf course within walking distance where you reside.  Although you wouldn’t want to lug your clubs a mile or your ball a half mile, it’s nice to know its close.  (The Prairies 5303 W. Main 343-3906…Harpos, 4500 Stadium Drive 375-1378).

Also nearby is Wings Stadium, the location for The 2010 USA Curling Nationals, going on now through March 13th.    See the Olympic sport that has everybody buzzing. A limited number of complimentary tickets are available to Dover Hills residents.  Just head over to the office at Dover Hills to claim yours.

I know I don’t need to tell you, but just in case you have a hollow leg, drink responsibly, and as they say, “bring em back alive”!

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3 Responses to Is Curling A True Sport?

  1. Bill Feldpausch on March 25, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Great article. I too noticed Curling was on TV a lot during the Olympics. Plus, a few weeks ago, I was golfing with a couple from Vancouver & they are in a Curling league there. And I heard on the radio here that Phoenix has a Curling league too. Who would have guessed. And yes, it too is a drinking sport.

  2. Isabella on March 28, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Darn it! I missed the Curling! I have friends from Canada. They would have loved to go. Miranda Lambert will be at Wings Stadium in a couple of weeks. I’m going!

  3. anonymous on April 9, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Definition of sport: “An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.”

    First of all let’s assume we are referring to competitive curling.

    1) “An activity involving … skill”
    Delivering the stone – with proper technique – requires balance and flexibility. One steps into the hack aligning himself to the target (skip’s broom), making sure his feet, knees, hips and shoulders are square. Then he will squat down using only his hamstrings to support all of his bodyweight, all while remaining square to the broom. Now comes the fun part. He will elevate his hips, without changing the height of his shoulders, move his foot with the slider to behind his foot in the hack, transfer all his weight onto said foot (with slider), bring said foot back in front of his foot in the hack, transfer his weight back to the foot in the hack and push with his quad, driving out of the hack and lowering into the delivery position – still remaining square to the broom. The delivery position requires one to place his slider foot flat on the ice under his sternum, which he will use to balance his entire body weight. Zero percent of the curlers bodyweight should be on the broom, even though it is held during delivery. His arm with the rock should be extended in front of him with only a slight bend, and form a straight line with his siding foot, trailing leg and broom/target at the other end of the sheet. Now he will release the rock, turning it in the correct direction. (This is still over-simplified – there are entire books on how to deliver a curling rock.)Still not satisfied? Imagine the skill required to make the shots you see on television. The average curling rink is 146-150’ long, 126’ of which a stone will travel during a typical draw. Thus, a “simple” draw to the pin requires the curler to slide out with the precise amount of force required to make 36” in diameter piece of granite travel 126’, accounting for the amount of curl in the ice so the rock will come to a stop on a section of ice no larger than the eraser at the end of a pencil. Nevermind, the skill necessary to visualize – and then make – the shots such as runbacks, double/triple/quadruple takeouts, etc. that require much greater precision.

    2) “An activity involving physical exertion”
    Only people who have never played the game before will say there is no physical exertion involved. Each team is given 73 minutes to play all ten ends, with a typical game lasting from two and a half to three hours. Therefore stamina and endurance are essential. Sweeping – once again with proper form and technique – dramatically increases your heart rate, second only to the sport of tennis, pushing you to your anaerobic threshold. Basically, if you’re not breathing heavily after you have swept a rock, you are not doing your job. Now, times this by six rocks and end (obviously you will not sweep your own rocks) and ten ends a game – equals sweeping up and down the ice 60 times. In most major competitions one to two games are played a day (sometimes three or more, depending on the level of competitive play) with the events lasting anywhere from a weekend to a week or more. Rarely, if ever, in major curling bonspiels/tournaments will curlers get a day or two’s break between games. Thus, athletic ability and endurance is obvious.

    3) “ … that is governed by a set of rules or customs”
    There are more rules to curling than almost any other sport, not including the ‘unwritten rules’. After all, curlers pride themselves on sportsmanship and fair play.

    4) “ … and often undertaken competitively”
    Play on the ‘competitive circuit’ (where you will find Kevin Martin, Glen Howard, Jennifer Jones, Brad Gushue … competing) has become so exclusive that the ‘weekend warrior’ no longer has hope of being included. The top curlers from many Asian and European countries are paid salaries by their governments to compete in world championships – it is their job. Canada and the United States have yet to adopt such a policy even though our North American Curlers dedicate an equivalent amount of time to the sport.

    Thus, curling is a sport by definition. Only those who are ignorant or uneducated will state otherwise.

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