CURLING

Olympic winter sport has taken hold in the Copper Country

 

Through fundraising efforts and grants, the Copper Country Curling Club has turned the historic Drill House in Calumet into the perfect venue for its sport. (Photo courtesy of the CCCC)

By Deborah Frontiera
If you’ve never heard of the sport of curling, you are not alone, but the sport dates back to 16th century Scotland, where it was played on frozen lakes and ponds using channel stones. Scottish immigrants brought the game to Canada and the U.S. in the early 1800s. It has been gaining popularity in the Copper Country since the Copper Country Curling Club (CCCC) was formed in 1993.
The modern game is well presented by a video on the club’s website cccurlingclub.com and is described as “chess on ice.” This writer sees it more like Bocce Ball with 42 pound balls.
Two teams of four players each slide smooth stones toward a target circle. Players on each team alternate until all the stones have been thrown. The team with stones closest to the center of the target gains points.
While some team members aim to score, others aim to knock the opponents’ stones away from the target. The last person on each team is designated the “skip” and has the job of reading the ice and the curl of the stone. “Skip” sends the “hammer” stone last to score or knock out other stones.
Once one player launches a stone, two others, “sweepers,” brush the ice in front of the sliding stone to reduce friction. Good sweepers can enhance a stone’s slide by as much as 15 feet. There are other rules, and some degree of physical strength and skill are necessary in all players…

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