Stefanie Weiss

Curling stones sit next to the Alpine Curling Club logo in Monroe. The club will offer beginner curling classes on March 6 and 13.

By Jeremy Anders
The Journal-Standard
Posted Feb 27, 2010 @ 09:54 PM

Just push off with one leg, slide slowly for a few feet, release the stone and watch it slide to the center of the target.
Easy, right?
Well, as you can see in a video posted to, not so much for me.
I, with photographers Dave Manley and Stefanie Weiss (both of whom curiously don’t show up on the video), tried my hand at curling at the Alpine Curling Club in Monroe with the help of icemaker Bob Rufi. It was a fun time, even if I proved that I wasn’t very good at it at all.
Curling is a sport that looks easy when you watch it — most likely not live — on NBC’s Olympic broadcasts but is deceptively a bit harder than it looks.
Throwing the stone properly takes coordination, something I didn’t start to get the hang of until my final, somewhat respectable toss where I actually was able to slide for a bit before throwing the stone far off to the right.
It would have been completely useless had we been playing an actual end, but I’ll just say it was a nice draw shot that curled well there.
Curling doesn’t look like a sport that would make you work up a sweat, and throwing the rock doesn’t. You don’t need to put a lot of force behind it, just slide along, give it a small push and watch it go.
But sweeping is a different story. You have to move down the surprisingly not very slippery ice, and vigorously sweep if the stone is coming in too light (slow) or is curling too much. Do that on two straight tosses and you’ll be plenty winded.
And while I didn’t have the best luck right away, it became obvious that one of the biggest appeals of curling is that just about anybody can learn, and learn quickly. Rufi said that children as young as five or six can start curling and he has heard of people as old as “90 or 95” curling.
If you aren’t able to crouch down and slide to throw the stone, curlers can stand, use a rod that hooks onto the stone, aptly named a curling stick.
“We use simple terms here,” Rufi said, laughing.
The game itself is interesting in how unique it is. The strategy needed isn’t necessarily obvious to the untrained eye, but it’s a complex game that can be very unpredictable.
“No two games are ever the same, no two ends in a game are the same,” curler Steve Johnson said. “There’s so many different ways you can play an end ... there’s lot of opportunities to try different shots and different strategies.”
It was my first time curling, but I hope it isn’t my last. There will be introduction to curling classes at the Alpine Curling Club on March 6 and March 13, and I hope to get another chance to go out on the ice.
And who knows, maybe I’ll even make a competent shot.

Jeremy Anders is a sports writer for The Journal-Standard. He can be reached at

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