I wish I had learned to curl BEFORE the Olympics. A lot more would have made sense.
I LOVED Curling. I had an absolute blast, and think our entire group had fun. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. We arrived a little before 9 on Saturday morning, paid our $10 fee, and were instructed to put on a bootie, which was essentially one of those blue hairnets that they make you wear before surgery. Here AC & HC (and Baby C!) model:
This is to make one of your feet more slippery. It turns out that the type of shoes you wear can impact your throwing. Our friend WB had to put duct tape over the rubber toe of his shoe because it was creating too much drag.
They split our group of 6 into 2 groups of 3 and we each got 2 instructors. First we learned and then practiced throwing rocks. You basically put your non-slip foot in a track start and use that to propel yourself forward on your slippery foot while balancing on your sweep and rock. It is really hard to learn to feel how much to propel yourself so that the rock goes where you want it to go. I did fall once, but it wasn't bad or painful since I already was low to the ground. After a bunch of practice, we graduated to these teflon slings for our slip foot and got rid of the booties.
After throwing, we learned to sweep, which is basically running on ice to stay with the rock and listening to the Skip (person at the end) yell "SWEEP" (aka begin vigourous sweeping) or "UP" (aka stop vigorous sweeping). This is the most cardiovascular part of curling. A few times of sweeping and you are pretty pooped.
Sweeping can be dangerous if you lose your balance on the ice. The ice is treated wih something so it isn't super slippery but you still have to be careful. I did not ever fall while sweeping.
After learning the basics, we played a game against each other, and rotated through the four positions. It was only after I learned the skip position that it all sort of fell into place for me. Here is a picture of Nate playing the skip position:
As you can see in this picture, all of our group's rocks barely made it over the legal line at first. We got better at it as we played more rounds.
The rocks each weigh 40 lbs and are made of granite that comes from one specific place in Scotland. Here Nate moves a bunch of rocks to the other side using his sweeper:
After the game, you sit in the lounge and talk about it. We got cheese and crackers and soda, coffee or tea. The preggos (HC and myself) were pumped about the snacks. I jokingly said that I was going to put Baby Schlotty in the Baby Bjorn and curl all next fall and winter with him/her. We are all excited for the alumni game that will be occcuring in the fall. Here is our group - yeah, we're ready for the Olympics.