MICHIGAN MONDAYS | DETROIT CURLING CLUB

Detroit Curling Club | #detroit #michigan
Are you familiar with curling? Until last year, it was mostly just something I mocked because, I mean, sweeping ice? That’s a sport? Well, friends, I am here to tell you that it most definitely is. We joined the Detroit Curling Club last year but I, shockingly, never blogged about it. Today I am going to remedy that, mostly because the experience was so ridiculously fun (and just plain ridiculous). Thanks to Jennifer for reminding me!

Detroit Curling Club | #detroit #michigan
A brief curling lesson: curling is basically bocce ball on ice. With a few chess-like stratagems involved (it is known, in its very niche world, as “the chess of ice”). You crouch low into the hack and balance on the broom to help you push the stone across the ice. Casting off from the hack, you “throw”, i.e. glide, the stone down the ice. Your goal is to get your stone closest to the middle of the target, aka “the button.”
The scoring system is insane and I still don’t understand how it really works but you eventually win or lose after a few rounds. You can tell I am a total curling expert, right?
Detroit Curling Club
Let it be known: it is super hard to correctly throw a stone since if it goes too fast it will blow past the target; too slow, and it won’t make it at all. Plus, balancing in the throw position–let alone gliding gracefully across the ice whilst holding this same position–is a feat of derring-do. Luckily, you get to wear rubber booties the whole time so you feel as ridiculous as you look!
Detroit Curling Club | #detroit #michigan
I give mad props to pro curlers because they are hardcore. We watched this a lot when we were learning how to curl:

 

Jenny’s got chops.
Detroit Curling Club | #detroit #michigan
When you’re getting ready to throw the stone, all eyes are on the Skip. This is your teammate who stands at the opposite end and makes an elaborate series of hand motions to let you know how to aim the stone. There is an art to aiming the stone but since geometry is involved (with all sorts of talk involving complicated things like angles, sines, and cosines*) I obviously didn’t master it. This is where curling gets its name–depending on how you point the handle, the stone will curve (or curl) in a given direction.
*Sines and cosines are not actually involved, but they might has well be since I can’t figure out angles to save my life.
Detroit Curling Club | #detroit #michigan
After the stone is thrown, the sweeping begins. Can I just say that there is nothing more ridiculous than sweeping ice. Nothing. Basically, two people quickly scrub the ice ahead of the stone to, theoretically, create a smoother path for it to glide on. Everyone on the team yells at the sweepers to SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!! KEEP!!! SWEEPING!!!! It gets pretty rowdy in there.
Detroit Curling Club | #detroit #michigan
Honestly, sweeping shouldn’t be hard. But it is. I actually threw out my back sweeping, but that’s another story for another day.
Detroit Curling Club | #detroit #michigan
What I loved about curling was how much it reminded me of visiting a foreign country. The regulars spoke in a language I couldn’t understand but felt vaguely familiar. Social customs were different out on the ice, as were social hierarchies and even basic vocabulary. There was a high premium on teamwork, congeniality, and sportsmanly competition. A pig seemed to figure quite prominently in this culture for reasons unbeknownst to me.
It makes sense that this was was a sport native to jolly Scottish royals and peasants alike, where tartan abounded and that definitive teamwork ethos got an official name: “The Spirit of Curling.”
Detroit Curling Club | #detroit #michigan
While we only participated in one season of the Detroit Curling Club’s mixed league, we had a blast and highly recommend it and curling to anyone looking for jolly good way to pass a winter’s eve.
 
What’s the strangest sport you’ve participated in/watched? 
Have you ever curled?
 Detroit Curling Club | #detroit #michigan
Check out more of our Detroit adventures here, or follow along on my Pinterest board, The D and MI. 

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