Klamath Falls, Ore. – The sport of curling is growing in popularity in the U.S., and Klamath Falls is one of the few places in Oregon where it’s played.
Curling coach Ryan Dean says the sport has roots in Scotland, from the 1500’s. “They started just throwing rocks on frozen lakes and ponds, and something to do when it was too cold to golf.”
Curlers congregate at the Bill Collier Ice Arena at the Running ‘Y’ Sunday afternoons.
This is the second year Jen Witt and her husband have been curling. “It’s just something fun that we can both do, and stay active – and somewhat easy.”
The concept of curling can be a little confusing at first.
Dean Explains: “The objective of curling is a lot like your backyard game of bocce ball.”
“It’s more of a bowling kind of, the concept.” Adds Witt. “Shuffleboard I would think is similar as well.”
Coach Dean says the objective of the game is simple. “Basically whoever’s stone is closest to the center of the ‘house’, that’s the target on the ice – we call that the ‘button’ in the curling world – whichever team’s stone is closer than the other team’s stone scores those points.”
Sweepers can help guide the path of a stone without direct contact.
“The sweeping does two things.” Explains Dean. “It can make the stone go up to 10 feet further, and it makes the stone go straighter.”
Witt says Olympic curling is played at a much higher level.
“We are not athletes.” Laughs Witt. “It’s a different game that we play than what they play. Accuracy, how they line up the stones, versus what we do – we’re just trying to get it on the board, and stay on the board.”
Coach Dean notes curling attracts a broad range of ages, and athletic abilities. “We’ll have kids start if they want at around 8 years old, as long as they’re strong enough to get the stone down the ice.”
And it’s a passion that can last a lifetime.
“We just joined the league, without even knowing how to play, and played our first game.” Recalls Witt. “And it was fun – worth it.”
Klamath Ice Sports offers curling Sunday afternoons from 12:45 to 2:15, beginners are welcome.
You can find out more at: www.klamathicesports.org
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