Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Observations from a neophyte

The Vanastra Curling Club (in midwestern Ontario) began operations for the season a week and a half ago. This is just the second season of curling for my wife [Ms. Eclectic] and me, and I was petrified that I would not have any feel for the ice.

I have no idea why, but I'm curling just as well now as I was at the end of last season. I guess this means that curling is a bit like riding a bicycle -- once you learn, you don't forget. I hope that continues to be the case.
Our club installed new equipment to keep the ice cold. Our first time out, the ice seemed very slippery, despite the lack of much pebble, yet. But the next two times the ice was fine (Ms. Eclectic and I curl twice a week when I'm not off doing other stuff).

We both use push sticks (also known as "delivery aids"). Last year when we went for our first instructions on how to curl, we put on sliders, stepped onto the ice, got scared that we might fall, and decided that wearing grippers on both feet while using a push stick would be better for us, especially at our advanced ages and given our creaky knees. It turns out that about half the people we curl with late on Friday nights also use push sticks, and last Wednesday, three-quarters of the people there used them, so we're not alone. However, nobody at the early Friday evening draw uses a push stick!

Most people who use push sticks in our club use the club-provided sticks, often called "curling cues": metal poles with wire spiraled thing-a-ma-bobs at the end.

Ms. Eclectic uses an "Extender" with interchangeable heads: one is the hinged hook used to deliver the rock and the other is a broom head.

I prefer to have a brush with me after delivering a rock, so I can jump out and help sweep if necessary. Also, I don't like having to change the heads on the stick, as Ms. Eclectic does, or having to look for a broom or stick, depending on what I need. So I use the "Del- iverer" with a dual head: hook on one side and brush on the other.

But there are lots of other options (see here, for a list of others along with a helpful discussion of choosing and using a stick).


At 11/17/2005 1:55 p.m., Blogger Marc Bernard said...

This is my 11th year curling, and every year the first few slides are a little, well, shaky.

Enjoy the year, and maybe I'll see you at the Spring Thaw in April.



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