Curling

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curling-1018766_640

Curling rocks, lined up for play in the hack (Image: Pixabay)

Curling

In the hack and grip your rock
crouch and graceful glide precise
eyes on broom across the sheet
send the stone along the ice.

But you can’t hit everything—
need to keep the four-rock rule.
Play it cagey—make the tick
learned in Weagle curling school.

Skip is yelling from the house
to the sweepers, “Hurry hard!”
Rock is light and slowing fast
comes to rest, a perfect guard.

Rival stone sits in the rings
they would dearly love to steal.
“Throw a bullet,” is the call,
“sweep it clean, we want to peel.”

Now the house is getting full
rocks in twelve-foot, four-foot, eight
try the double, watch the jam
need to throw a lot of weight!

It’s our hammer and last rock
draw to button a clear shot
sweep for line and watch it curl
–
it looks easy, but it’s not!

© 2011 by V. Nesdoly

It’s the week of the Brier — a week-long curling bonspiel that pits men’s rinks from Canada’s provinces and territories against each other.

If there’s one game I love to watch it’s curling. I love the fact that there’s athleticism and strategy involved (curling has been called ‘chess on ice’). I love it that ordinary men and women (moms, teachers, accountants, chiropractors, golf-green-keepers, pharmacists) from small-town Canada get to be in the spotlight. I enjoy the pace of the game, and the way it’s televised so that you can see the look on the players’ faces, watch the progress of the rock along the ice,  and  see those great shots replayed. It has taken lot of self-discipline for me to get anything done this week (with three games a day and each several hours long… good thing I have a knitting project on the go!).

I wrote the ditty, above, several years ago while watching a Scotties (women’s) or  Brier (men’s tournament). It uses a a bit of the game’s vocabulary (and is a re-post).

In case you’re interested, here’s a glossary of Canadian curling lingo (Canadian Curling Federation).

The video below features the top ten curling shots from a few years ago at one of the Canadian spiels that was played to help select Canada’s men’s and women’s rinks for the 2010 Olympics (where the Canadian men’s rink [Kevin Martin] won gold and the women’s [Cheryl Bernard, shown in the still shot below] won the women’s silver).

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Poetry+Friday+TagThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by the multi-talented Michelle Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty.

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21 thoughts on “Curling

  1. Thanks for teaching me something today, Violet! I may be off base here, but the game reminds me of lawn bowls in Australia. (Without the ice, of course!) I have fond memories of stopping to watch with my young kids when we walked home from school.

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  2. I am so ignorant of the wide sports world. But always beautifully educated with Poetry Friday pals.
    The curling tools make me think of darning tools (for giants’ socks . . .) Appreciations & Happy Weekend!

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  3. I’ve always loved watching curling in the Olympics, and had no idea there was so much “madness” about it. It is great that so many have their chance to shine. Love that you wrote a poem about it1

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    • Thanks, Linda! “Madness” is a good word to describe the hype around a great shot. This week’s Brier was held in St. John’s Newfoundland, where the host team is strong and a gold medal contender. Talk about crowd noise every time their beloved team made a good shot! It was hard for the other teams on the ice (four rinks are playing simultaneously during the round robin) to keep concentration, let alone communicate.

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  4. Violet, that is really interesting. I have no background knowledge of the sport….so when I see it I’m drawn to watching it but don’t know how. This poem is power packed with the feel of the game through the language used. I have learned a thing or two — bonus points for me. I especially like, “now the house is getting full”. All this love for a sport….I imagine brings folks to watch….but a house full must also be rocks on the ice. Thanks for sharing this.
    Have a great week!

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    • Thank you, Linda. And yes, bonus points for you. The “house” in curling is the circle area that looks like a target. Every rock in that area is said to be in the house. Both sides throw rocks in the house and the one or ones closest to the middle of the target (called the “button”) after each of the four players has thrown their 2 rocks each per end, scores a point. (Maybe that’s more than you wanted to know 🙂

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  5. Wow, I have no idea what your poem means, but it’s cool to be introduced to a whole new world! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

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  6. I am always so intrigued by the curling matches during the Olympics. I don’t understand it at all, but it’s pretty cool to watch. And I do love that anyone can be a participant. Isn’t it fun, too, that it has it’s own language?

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    • Thanks Dori! It really is quite simple. Four players per side throw 2 rocks each per end. They throw them in the same order each time (lead, second, third, skip). The skip is the person who holds the broom as a target for the player to aim for, and the two people not throwing sweep the rock. The slightly pebbled ice and the sweeping plus the speed and amount of rotation that is thrown causes the rock to curve (curl). This allows rocks to end up in seemingly impossible places on the circular target (called the “house”). After all 16 rocks have been thrown, the rock or rocks closest to the centre of the target (“button”) count 1point per rock for the team who threw them. The team that throws the last rock each end has “hammer” (a big advantage). When your team scores, the other team then has hammer in the next end. Scoring a point when you don’t have hammer is called a “steal.” The physics of the game (with its use of angles) is also somewhat like pool or snooker.

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