Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Power Broom? What are the Rules?

After participating in the Gay Lea bonspiel at the Vanastra Curling Club last weekend, I was completely worn out. As a result, I have several questions about brooms and brushes.

I know there was considerable controversy when brushes were introduced instead of the old corn brooms. But that transition went fairly quickly.

I'm sure others have thought of this many times, but is there some rule against have a power brush in curling? Several possibilities present themselves:
  • Something with roller-brushes and a small electric motor, perhaps a bit like the small hand-held vacuum cleaners that have power heads on them. I can imagine that curling clubs would want to ban these because they could easily cause low spots on the ice after just a few ends.
  • but what about something that vibrates, like the Gillette Fusion razor (or the motor in an orbital sander)? Something that vibrates, even just a bit, might enhance the sweeping effect considerably, especially for people who struggle with a broom. How much would something like this damage the ice?

    For example, suppose I strapped just the little vibrator portion of a Gillette Fusion razor on the head of my broom

    Would doing so increase the efficiency of my sweeping?
    If so, would doing that have any noticeable additional detrimental impact on the ice?
    And would it be a violation of the rules? Which rules?
    Where should the line be drawn?
And to be really cynical, how do we know some curlers don't already have little vibrating gadgets inside their brooms, with switches up in the handles to turn them on and off? Is there some sanctioning body or some method to appeal the nature of the equipment used by the different teams, a la the mechanisms for challenging bats in baseball?

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