Curling Is ‘Sweeping’ the Nation and It’s Harder Than It Looks
There's no better sense of achievement than checking off a bucket list item and today was that day.
After receiving an invite to give curling a try down at the Cape Cod Curling Club, I was instantly hooked. I've been so infatuated in the 2022 Winter Olympic curling competitions that I needed to try it out for myself.
Unaware of just how strenuous it was going to be at the beginning, I was shocked at just how much work effort goes into curling. It's not just a simple matter of tossing a rock on ice; it's much more intricate than that.
From the moment I stepped onto the ice to the final push of the day, I was all smiles, like a kid on Christmas morning; that's the level of excitement I was running on. With the help and coaching of Cape Cod Curling Club representatives Jeanie Yaroch and two-time Paralympian and five-time national champion wheelchair curler Meghan Lino, I was able to pick up the sport very quickly.
Keep in mind, it was no walk in the park, but it was extremely rewarding to learn something new.
It amazed me how much goes into the sport, it's not just about tossing a stone toward a target, known as the house. It's about preparation, steady balance, a strong core, and sturdy legs. I was given a pair of rubber grips that were attached to the bottom of my shoes and a slider for my less dominant foot. The club handed over to me a sweeper, and of course, provided the stones and the shoe grips/slider.
Honestly, I was amazed at how much lower body went into this sport, as I came to the realization that the athletes I've been watching clearly are elite. When all was said and done, I was pushing off with the stone like a natural.
If anyone were to ask me what the most difficult part about curling was, I'd simply say the endurance and strength needed for the sweeping. Sweepers allow the stone to travel further by reducing the amount of friction by cleaning the ice along the stone's path of travel. The release from the stone thrower (not exactly sure what that position is called) depends on how hard you have to work the broom. The slower the slides, the more you'll have to put your back into it. I figured that out firsthand.
Overall, it was such an amazing experience that I would make the drive to Falmouth as much as possible just to keep practicing and leveling up my curling game. Anyone who's on the fence about trying out the sport of curling or not should 100 percent take the chance. Although I didn't fall, it's bound to happen eventually, but if I could do it at six-foot-four and close to 300 pounds, you can too.
I may have worked out a group of muscles I've yet to train in my life and will most definitely feel the pain tomorrow morning. I would highly recommend this to anyone who's willing to give the sport a chance. You have nothing to lose, the members are all very nice and informative and best of all, you can actually train for the Olympics.
After all, every one of the curling members of Team USA had to start somewhere; that somewhere could be your very first time tossing a stone. Nothing is impossible when you commit to new and challenging things, so add curling to your bucket list and you'll thank me later.
Go Team USA!