If you've ever marveled at the ancient Scottish sport of curling at the winter Olympics, but had no idea how the game works, here's you opportunity to learn more.
If you have a rudimentary understanding of how shuffleboard works, you're more than half way there.
Here are the elements:
*2 teams of four players each
*8 granite curling stones per team
*The Curling Broom or Brush (used to brush the path in front of the stone)
*The Curling Sheet (the ice)
*The House (the target marked on the ice)
*The Ends (each time both teams have thrown all their stones)
*The Game (Usually 8-10 Ends)
*The Curler (the player who pushes the stone)
*The sweepers (the two players who sweep in front of the stone to guide it)
The purpose of curling is to score the most points. Points are given for getting stones closest to the center of the house. Because a great deal of strategy goes into choosing the path of the stone and where it lands, curling has received the nickname "Chess On Ice."
The curling sheet is carefully prepared to be as flat and level as possible, 146 to 150 feet (45 to 46 m) in length by 14.5 to 16.5 feet (4.4 to 5.0 m) in width (the World Curling Federation sets these dimensions). The house consists of three rings. The rings are four, eight, and twelve in diameter, however they only serve as a visual aid for aiming and judging which stone is closer to the centre. Ultimately they don't affect scoring, but a stone must at least touch the outer ring or it doesn't receive any score.
One of the biggest confusions to the layman is probably the role of the sweepers.
Sweeping has two purposes: reduce friction under the stone and to decrease the curl. Because stones curl more as they slow, sweeping early increases distance and straightens the path. When swept well the stone will travel farther and straighter.
Other important terms to know:
Weight (the velocity of the stone)
Turn (the rotation of the stone which allows it to curve in its trajectory)
Line (the direction of the throw, ignoring the curve of its trajectory)
Now, you're probably wondering, "who came up with this anyway?" Well that's where things get hazy. It's thought that curling originated in Medieval Scotland and writings about a game being played with stones on ice have been found dating back to the 1540s, while paintings depicting a very similar game date back to the 1560s.
Now the next time you're at a winter Olympics party, you'll be one up on all your friends when it comes to curling.