Laugh, slide and stumble into the sport today
Whether you think curling is lame, boring or strictly for old people, curling can be an incredibly social, active and fun sport. This year’s Mount Royal University curling bonspiel is March 8. Even though the MRU bonspiel’s registration is full, here are four reasons why you should try curling before the season is over.
1. Curling is extremely social.
Often no one cares how well you can curl. They’re just happy you showed up. Most curling leagues and weekend tournaments, called bonspiels, are for fun and are about building relationships with your teammates and competitors. Even junior provincial and Canadian championship curler, Becca Konschuh, says her favourite part of curling is how social it is.
“My favourite part about curling actually takes place on and off the ice…though I love competing, that’s not what the sport is all about.”
2. Curling is meant for everyone.
Like hockey rinks, curling rinks help hold Canadian communities together. Yes, old people are often known for curling, but it’s a sport for all ages.
Curling is an opportunity for all generations to compete and share stories amongst each other. Konschuh says that curling is engaging and challenging for all ages and skill levels.
“I think that a lot of people are hesitant to try curling because it is thought that curling is strictly for old people. This is extremely false. Curling is a game for ages five to ninety-five. It can be suitable for everyone. I find people hold back from curling because they find it boring and less of a sport than, say, hockey. I realize that curling isn’t that fastest paced game, but it is a challenging one. You can almost look at curling as a big game of chess. You always have to think ahead and anticipate what your opponent will do.”
3. Curling is affordable
It’s not unusual to see a ten-year-old pair of curling shoes with duct tape wrapped around the right toe at any curling rink. Veteran curlers usually do not buy new curling equipment for years. For the new curler, you often don’t need anything more than a sweater and a clean pair of shoes to participate. Curling only requires the following equipment to play:
First, the slider. This is strapped to your shoe to glide on the ice. The second thing you need is a gripper, which is strapped to your other shoe to grip on the ice. Finally, the broom, which you hold in your hand to sweep or help maintain balance when starting out.
Curling rinks often have a surplus of this equipment to lend out to those who need it.
The average team entry fee for a curling bonspiel can range from $50 to $250, but these are weekend long events that often include dances, dinners and prizes. Curling membership costs, for league play, memberships can range from $35 to $100 a year.
4. Curling is a culture
Curling is known to be one of the only three sports that one can still effectively play after a few drinks—the other sports being softball and golf. A typical adult curling bonspiel starts with early morning coffees and ends with late night beers. In between there can be a variety of fun activities such as raffles, karaoke and dress up contests. Almost every bonspiel has a dinner and dance included as well. On the last day, most bonspiels have a prize table where teams, depending on how they placed in the tournament, get to pick from. You could go home with anything ranging from a coffee mug to a barbeque.
If you’ve never tried curling before, you have a bit of time left to try it. Look online at on the Northern Alberta Curling Associations’ website for a list of Alberta’s bonspiels. You can sign up as a spare at the Garrison Curling Club, next to the Flames Community Arena where the Cougars play hockey. Konschuh says,
“The advice I would give to individuals who are looking to try curling for the first time is, go in with an open mind, be patient and have fun.”