Throwing, sweeping, and knocking are all aspects of the classic sport called Curling. It’s sort of similar to feather bowling or bocce ball, but it’s played on ice. You may have seen a game during this Olympic season. It’s the sport where someone throws a giant granite stone down an icy lane, while two players with brooms vigorously sweep in front of the stone to get the stone to land at just the right place.
It’s a fun game with a long history in the metro Detroit area. According to Brett Jackson, the President of the Detroit Curling Club, people started playing the game in our area back in the 1830s. The club itself was founded in 1885 and has moved around the metro area before finding its current home in Ferndale.
Before we get into how to play, let’s go over some terms:
Stone - (also known as “rock”) is the 42 pound, rounded piece of granite that the player glide across the ice to score points
Thrower - This is the person who launches the stone down the lane
Sweepers - These are the people with brooms that scrub the ice in front of the stone to control how far and straight it goes.
An End- Every time all the stones are thrown by both teams in one direction. It’s similar to an inning. Typically people play 8 ends, in the Olympics, they are playing many 10 end games.
The game can be played in multiple ways, but is most commonly played between two 4 person teams. Each player takes turns throwing 2 stones per end and alternating who sweeps. The end is won by having the most stones closest to the center circle.
For a full explanation of throwing and sweeping techniques, watch the full video above.
While the game is simple in concept, it actually requires a lot of strategy to win as teams can knock their stones or the other team’s stones out of the rings.
Anyone can play the sport, and you don’t have to be good to enjoy it.
If you would like to learn how to play, the Detroit Curling Club is hosting an open house on March 5th, 2022. They are located at 1615 E Lewiston Avenue in Ferndale.