Tuesday, 3 April 2018

C is for Curling

2018 #AtoZchallenge participation badge
For my A-Z challenge this year I'm taking a look at sports. Olympic ones, ancient ones, weird ones and some just non sporting sports. I'm not athletic or even particularly fit but there are some sports I enjoy watching and in composing my posts I've come across many that I'd never heard of. Join me in a sporting journey from the comfort of your couch (or wherever else you're reading this) and thanks for stopping by.

I chose Curling for my C post as I watched quite a bit of it during the recent Winter Olympics. Originating in Scotland dating back to at least the 1500s there are usually strong teams representing GB in both the men and women's competitions. Unfortunately this year in PyeongChang our teams only managed to finish fourth in their respective competitions. This year also saw the inclusion for the first time of a mixed doubles event.

It's another sport that has developed to incorporate technological advances as the GB women's team found to their cost during one match. The stones, made from granite and weighing a whopping 44lb (19.96 kg) have come a long way since the flat rocks originally used. Now fitted with handles these can also contain sensors. This is mandatory in competitions such as the Olympics and is used to ensure the player releases the stone before it crosses the "Hog line". (Why do sports use such charming terms?) It can also detect if the handle is not released smoothly which is where Eve Muirhead fell foul to the technology. She felt she released the stone in time but it seems her hand may have brushed against the handle again as it crossed the line. Whatever happened the penalty light came on, the stone was discounted and GB lost the match. Fortunately that was as the round robin stage of the competition and the women still progressed to the knock out stages.

Another interesting thing I learned is that the ice surface they play on, the sheet, is actually "pebbled" by dropping water onto it. Again the sophisticated preparation of the the sheet has come a long way from playing on frozen lakes. It's a sport that requires a lot of physical stamina but it's also mentally challenging - working out which shots to play and where best to position your stones to prevent the opposing team from being able to score points, hence it's sometimes known as chess on ice.

Then of course there is the sweeping! And the shouting! I find it quite entertaining to watch but do wonder how much sweeping around their own houses any of the players do? Of course the target area for the stones is also known as the house so players could claim they do lots of sweeping in their house!

My opinions on some other C sports are as follows:

Canoeing - No thanks, part of the initial safety training involves capsizing and escaping from the canoe. Not being a strong swimmer there is no way I would want to be capsizing!

Cluster ballooning - yes this really does involve going up in the air strapped to a cluster of balloons. Why???????

Cheerleading - that could have been a thing for me in my youth - I did a lot of dancing but I'm not sure I could have coped with the acrobatics.

Combat fighting - this contains a huge number of different types, many with unpronounceable names, but basically they are all about 2 combatants fighting one another. In my opinion picking a fight is not sporting.

Cricket - I just do not get cricket, other than an excuse for a day out to eat and drink because it always seems so slow to me and then just when it might get interesting it either rains or they go in for tea! (And don't get me started on what they do with their balls given the recent scandals.) (Hopefully that won't get me in trouble for not declaring adult content.)

As for C sports I might actually participate in, well I did try my hand at Clay Pigeon Shooting not so long ago. I was pretty useless and my shoulder ached the day after but it was part of a weekend away for my daughter's birthday with all our kids and their spouses so it was quite an enjoyable activity.

I'm also pretty good at Card Games, particularly Cribbage and Contract Whist in other words things that can be played in the comfort of my own home and without much effort!

What sport gets you out of your armchair or off the sofa?


  1. Now this is a sport i have never tried or seen.

    1. I guess it's a winter version of bowls but I'd rather play outside in warmer weather! lol

  2. Ah curling, one of the few sports we Scots are actually any good at :-)

  3. Interesting. Looking in for the Challenge.

  4. I love curling! I haven't done it since high school, but it is so much fun.

  5. When we lived in Scotland we did some curling. It was so much fun!

  6. I noticed alot of curling was on for the olympics this year.
    Thanks I understand it a bit better now.

  7. What gets me out of the couch is Volleyball. I'll get that in because it's so long till you get to V. lol
    A "C" sport that comes to mind is canoeing. Never done it, but would love to try it.

  8. I enjoy canoeing. You are right, you have to be able to balance and should know what to do if things go wrong.

  9. Curling was big this year, wasn't it? I think I prefer canoeing, especially on a nice summer day.

  10. I hadn't seen curling until the Olympics this year and it was the only thing I saw, as I didn't really watch much and both times we went out to eat, curling was what was being shown on TV.
    Janet’s Smiles

  11. I have seen curling for the first time on TV in "Escape to the Country" (!!) not so long ago. It was completely unknown to me

  12. I love learning from your A-Z!! Interesting to know how much the stones weigh and that they have sensors in them! Wow.

  13. Curling was big in the Chicago area, if memory serves. There used to be lists of all the major sports and results in the newspaper, and then there'd be a corner where they'd talk about all the minor sports, like curling, and occasionally a feature article that would make sense if you were into curling, but be like reading Attic Greek if you didn't. The US won the gold in curling this year, so that's something to be proud of.

    Cheerleading used to be where all the pretty girls would cheer on their boyfriends, but it's become every bit an athletic event as the sports they cheer on. They even offer college scholarships in it now, and it's really highly competitive. I was shocked. I mean, we had a cheerleading squad (the "pom-pom" girls) who did some pretty good dance rouitines, but nothing like they do today.

  14. There's a curling club out in the suburbs near where I live. I should venture out there one day and give it a try.


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