November 18, 2017: Yesterday, I tried curling for the very first time! 😀 I was first mesmerised by this sport back in 2006 when our Canadian team won the Olympic gold medal for the 2006 Winter Olympics (gosh, has it really been that long ago; it really feels like not long ago when my mom and I sat on the couch and watched them play that game).
Anyway, since then, I’ve always wanted to try this sport. I knew that there was a curling club not far away from me at the Unionville Curling Club in Main Street Unionville but I had never thought of stepping in or looking into it.
Thanks to Facebook and its online advertising, I was alerted to the fact that Unionville Curling Club was hosting free one-hour workshops for the public to register to try curling! It was amazing. Although I first saw this event earlier in the year, I was only available to sign up for their November “Intro to Curl” workshop. I signed up for the second session at 5:30 p.m. (they had an earlier one at 3:30 p.m.).
They only had a limited number of spots so it was a first-come-first-serve registration list. Once the spots were filled, that was it. They sent out an e-mail the day before the event to remind us and ensure that we knew what to bring. Since it was going to be located in an indoor rink, it was going to be cold inside so they suggested we wear a full winter attire with layers, a light winter jacket, mittens or gloves, and even a helmet if we had one. We were also told to bring in a clean pair of running shoes to wear (to bring them in hand as opposed to wearing them into the club).
It was a really rainy night but I made it safely to UCC. Once inside, the volunteer coaches were already set up with a sign-up station and had our names printed on a sticker for us to wear and also a waiver form (for media release forms).
We were each given a pair of pink rubber booties to fit onto the soles of our shoes and waited around for more people to arrive until 5:30 p.m. at which time the two hosts, Dianne and Kelly, gave a quick introduction to the sport and how the evening was going to transpire.
Curling is definitely not as easy as it looks! We were given some practice runs on the ice (which was actual ice but pebbled so it wasn’t a smooth sliding service). We were given brooms as well. We practised shuffling on the ice (called a curling sheet) first (to get used to it), using the brooms to sweep across the ice while looking up, getting into positions on the ice, and then we were divided up into groups of five or so to practise the delivery of the stone.
We were given two tries to practise this. Delivering a stone definitely takes practice and I was not used to gliding over the surface of the curling sheet. When you push out from the “hack”, you are supposed to lift up from it using our hips and to push up. The momentum of the lift up is what propels you to move forward and ultimately gives the energy of the lift. It’s not easy especially when the curling stone actually sticks to the surface of the ice too (I didn’t know this; how interesting it was to experience this in real life too!)
After this, we actually played a game! We combined our five players with other individuals from the other side of the room and were given roles like the “thrower”, “skip”, “leads,” and we took turns sweeping the rocks too. This was interesting to be able to sweep the stones to try to get it as close to the centre as possible. Of course, we were all newbies and this was all for fun.
When we finished our game, we shuffled over to the other size where our the curling stones were and were again given two turns each to just throw the stones back to the other side of the room.
It was definitely a fun unique experience and I’m actually a little sore tonight in my thighs from the curling yesterday (yay!). I know in order to actually have more fun and “perfect” the techniques, more curling practice is in order.
Thank you, Unionville Curling Club, for providing this complimentary experience to the community! It’s really a great idea to get more people interested in this sport while providing them a hands-on look and experience of it. 🙂