Curling is an Olympic sport that is played on the ice with polished granite stones. The game was first played in late medieval Scotland, and it is becoming more popular. It is sometimes called The Roaring Game because of the sound that the stones make as they travel over the ice. Curling refers to the sound of the stones as well, as they travel over the drops of water that are applied to the ice. As the curling stones roll over the pebble, or water droplets on the ice, they rotate and curl toward the inside or outside.
Outdoor curling is usually played on a pond. When a pond in Scotland was drained, a curling stone with the date 1511 was found as proof of how long curling has existed. The Kilsyth Curling Club is the first curling club in the world, and it still exists today. The club has a curling pond that was built for this purpose, but the warm weather keeps players from using it most of the time. Curling clubs are in existence around the world. The first one in the U.S. was in Michigan, and was organized in 1830. Curling as an official Olympic game has been an official sport since the 1998 Winter Olympics, although it was part of the Olympics before this date, but was then eliminated until 1998.
Curling is played on a curling sheet, which is a piece of ice that is as flat and as level as it can possibly be. Each end of the curling sheet has a house which consists of three rings. When the curling stone reaches one of these rings, it counts as a score. A curling stone weights between 38 and 44 pounds and has a handle on the top. Each team of four players has their own colored stone. The curling broom is another important piece of equipment for the game. It is used to sweep across the ice as the curling stone travels down the ice. The player who throws the curl wears slider shoes which are very slippery on the bottom. These shoes are used to slide down the ice quickly. Other players wear regular athletic shoes as they play, and the slider shoes often have an attachable non-sliding sole that can be attached when the slider does not need it. Players usually wear stretchy pants that are called curling pants and gloves and mittens for warmth on the ice and for gripping the broom.
To play curling, teams take turns sliding two rocks or stones. Players sweep as the stones move, and this affects the amount of curling, as well as how far the curling rock travels. To score, the rock must be within the house and towards the middle of the circle. After all of the stones are thrown, it is determined which team gets a point for that particular stone. Points are then added up, and the team with the most points wins the match. Games typically last around two hours.
With the proper equipment, it is possible to play curling with a group of players on any frozen pond or lake. Outdoor curling in the United States is especially popular in northern states, although Texas, Florida, and a few other southern states have a few curling clubs. Most curling clubs play on indoor rinks. There are also inactive curling clubs who are looking for ice rinks in states where outdoor curling is not possible due to warm year-round weather.
Canada has many curling clubs and Olympic hopefuls. There are curling clubs through Europe, and also in China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. The men’s and women’s curling teams were favorites to win the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but the women lost the gold medal to Sweden, but Canadian men did win to take the gold medal.