Curling is one of the fastest growing Winter Olympics sports. Fortunately, Long Island kids can try the sport through the Long Island local curling club.
While some states may have a local luge or ski slope, Long Islanders will have to leave the island to access many of the winter olympics’ sports such as skiing, luging or bob sleighing. That leaves a few sports for kids that are interested in trying their hand at winter olympic sports.
At the last Salt Lake City Olympics, curling became very popular and new clubs emerged across the US. As a result, the sport has become one of the fastest growing and we are fortunate to have a club here on Long Island.
Curling is a team sport, with four players per team. Two teams compete at a time using “brooms” to push a 44 pound granite disk across an ice rink to land in a circular target (home).
Olympic Debut: 1924*, 1998 (curling was not played between 1928-1994)
USA Medals: One
Teams: Men’s, Women’s, Mixed Doubles (new for the 2018 Olympics)
Season: October – April
LONG ISLAND CURLING CLUB
As of today, there’s just one Olympic medal awarded to USA for curling, so there’s a lot of room for improvement. Curling is one of the fastest growing Olympic sports and Long Island is fortunate to have the LI Curling Club, a not-for-profit that offers kids (and adults) the opportunity to learn the sport.
LI Curling club provides all attendees with the equipment necessary to play.
HOW TO PLAY (in a nutshell)
Teams of four players begin at one end of the ice. Using strength and the movement of brooms to sweep the ice, teams aim to push their four “rocks” closest to the bulls eye (aka “home”) approximately 150 feet away.
Curling brooms look similar to sweeping brooms and can be purchased online though it is not recommended for parents since most recreational programs include the equipment. There are two types of brooms that are used in a race. A push broom is made of man made materials and is the most popular type of broom. Traditionalists stand by Canadian brooms that have long bristles an are made of corn or straw, though it is unlikely to see an Olympian using a Canadian broom. Brooms range in price from $70 and up.
As with many other sports, the equipment that is used is scrutinized. Recently the New York Times discussed the “use of high-tech brooms.” These new brooms were able to have a real affect on the game. As a result of increased use of new materials designed to aid athletes, the World Curling Federation issued restrictions on the types of materials that brooms can be made of for use in competition. Also as a result, brooms that are used by competitors must be available for purchase at retailers.
In the United States, curling is usually played indoors at an ice rink. The Olympics website also notes that an indoor surface is “sprinkled with water droplets which freeze into tiny bumps (aka “pebbled ice”)…helps the stone’s grip and leads to more consistent curling.
Usually played indoors, curlers begin at one point and try to get their stone across a 150′ span to a home base target circle of an approximately 8 feet circumference.
For recreational situations, special shoes are not necessary. As players become more competitive,special curling shoes are common in order to grip the ice or slide on the ice (when shooting). For athletes that wish to take their game to the next level, then slip-on grippers, sliders, slider discs and sliding tape are all available. Grippers help players maintain control on the ice while sliders and slider discs help the foot to quickly glide across the ice, which is beneficial while
Also known as a stone, a curling rock is made of two types of rare, dense granite that is quarried on Scotland’s Ailsa Craig. Each rock weighs 19.1kg (about 44 pounds) and is polished.
A QUICK VIDEO THAT SHOWS HOW TO PLAY:
CAN MY KIDS PLAY ON LONG ISLAND? YES!
Because curling involves pushing a 42-44 pound block of granite more than 100 feet, the sport is usually played by kids 12 and up. If you believe your child is physically able to accomplish this, then you may bring him or her to be assessed.
There’s only one option for kids to play and that’s through the Long Island Curling Club, a not-for-profit dedicated to making the sport accessible. The organization offers spring and fall Open House dates and “Learn to Curl” programs so that kids (and adults) can try the sport and decide if it’s right for them before committing to a team.
LONG ISLAND CURLING CLUB
OPEN HOUSE: Saturday, March 3 and Saturday, March 24
LEARN TO CURL: Saturday, April 7 & 14, 7:40pm – 10:10pm
LEAGUE PLAY BEGINS: Saturday, April 28
CAN YOU CURL AT HOME?
Unless you’re able to build your own 150 foot ice span, paint it and freeze it under a sheet of ice — and the maintain a cold enough temperature to keep the ice frozen — curling at home may be a bit more difficult than other sports. But if you have the space and money is no issue, then you can try to install one of these artificial ice surfaces.
We were able to find this desktop game that your kids might like — we’ve never tried it.
If you want to learn more about this sport, find gear for your burgeoning career or just be inspired, take a look at these websites for the best curling resources.
Team USA click here
Long Island Curling click here
BOOKS ABOUT CURLING
Surprisingly, there aren’t many curling books, but the books listed below are good for beginners:
“Curling (Winter Sports),” by Claire Throp
“Curling for Dummies,” by Bob Weeks
“Curling, Etcetera: A Whole Bunch of Stuff About the Roaring Game,” by Bob Weeks
“Curling Steps to Success,” by Sean Turriff
** Full disclosure: we receive a small % of sales through these links.