Ice, Ice, Baby: The Sport of Curling

Curling may only come into the global spotlight every four years during the Winter Olympics, but in Canada, the sport makes an appearance far more frequently.

Curling was first invented in the early to mid 1500s in Scotland, and as Scottish immigrants ventured to Canada, they brought the game with them. Since there are approximately 1 million curlers in Canada it seemed fitting that I learn a bit more about how curling works.

Perhaps one of the most confusing things to first-time viewers of the sport is the unfamiliar terminology. Let’s begin with some essential curling jargon…

The surface on which curling is played is called the sheet. While the sheet dimensions vary slightly, the playing field is approximately 150 feet (~45 meters) long by about 15 feet (~4.5 meters) wide. That giant bullseye-like target at each end is known as the house, and center of the house called the button. The goal of the game is rather simple: get your team’s stones closer to the button than the other team gets theirs. (Sounds a bit like shuffleboard, right?)

To the untrained eye, the sport may appear to be a leisurely slide across the ice with some stones and brooms, but science plays a critical role in curling strategies as you will see.

I have a feeling it’ll take some time before I master this particular skill.