Every four years, the Winter Olympics surprise Americans by reminding them that curling exists. Teams slide hefty stones down a rink, and the winners land Olympic medals and a spot on the podium. Average Joes across the country are inspired to grab a broom and head to the closest ice rink to see if they, too, might be a prospective Olympic athlete.
In Kansas City, the mania has still not died down from Pyeongchang. The twenty-five-year-old Kansas City Curling Club had more than a thousand people sign up in the weeks after the last Olympics, and the boom continues to echo.
“Our Saturday league filled up in four hours,” says the club’s president, DeeAnn Moore.
Due to growing popularity, the club hopes to get its own curling facility. Right now, members borrow space at Line Creek Community Center. Getting a facility would allow the club to host league games and learn-to-curl sessions on weeknights.
KC Curling Club’s next free open house is on Jan. 4, and Moore — who herself discovered curling by Googling “things to do in Kansas City” — says it’s a sport anyone can enjoy.
“What we say about curling is that it’s easy to learn but difficult to master,” she says. “Be open minded. Curling is a very social game.”
GO: Line Creek Community Center, 5940 N.W. Waukomis Drive, KCMO. January 4, 5:45 pm. Free or bring a non-perishable food item for donation. kccurling.com.
Curling is a face-off between two teams of four. The teams take turns sliding heavy granite stones down a slick of ice called a “sheet.” The goal is to land your stone in the middle of the target on a circle called the “button.” While one curler delivers, two others sweep the ice in front of the stone to speed or slow its progress. A fourth player, the “skip,” stands near the target and yells directions. Teams receive one point for each stone that is within the target and is closer to the center button than any of the opposing team’s stones. Additional points are scored by other stones in the “house” that belong to the same team. The winner is the team with the most points after 10 rounds.
The sheet: 150 feet by 15 feet
The stones: 38 to 44 pounds
1. Button: The center of the target
2. House: The outer-most ring surrounding the button
3. End: A period when each team throws eight stones before counting points and reversing direction
4. Hack: The foothold located behind the house that is used to push off
5. Skip: The player who determines the strategy, reads the ice and directs play for his or her team. Generally, the skip delivers the last pair of stones.
6. Deliver: To push the stone