“Did someone call maid service? Cause we’re sweeping up a storm!”
I laugh along with my friend Naomi as we close out our curling lesson at the Ardsley Curling rink with the Long Island Curling team.
I’ve watched curling in the Olympics several times, but I never understood how a sport–could be so intense with just a broom. But after one lesson, it became very clear that the sport of curling is full of strategy, skills, and teamwork. It is much more than just brushing the surface of the ice with the bristles of a broom. No–it’s about understanding how to throw a stone–flick the wrist–and lunge correctly. It’s about listening to your teammates as they yell sweep–or don’t sweep. It’s about paying attention to your skip and knowing where to place the stone. It’s about working together through communication. Like all sports: it’s about hard work, dedication, determination, and a will to want to get better.
At first, I get a little nervous. Just after setting up my video camera, I forget that I am stepping on ice and feel my feet slip out from underneath me. A shame the video came that I had just set up was facing the other way because that would have been an amazing blooper. After gaining my balance, watching Matthew our teacher show us some basics, and seeing my friend Naomi give it a try–effortless, I jumped in. Boom. Right onto my butt again. I come from a family that manages to slip on the one patch of ice on the driveway each winter. Clearly, this wasn’t going to be easy for me–even if Naomi looked like a natural (She did practically live on us her entire life as a professional figure skater though, to be fair)
After regaining my balance once more, I get some tidbits from our instructor, and give it another shot–this time without falling. And then I do it again–and again–and again. Confidentially, I release the curling stone from my hands in a perfect straight line. “I could get used to this I exclaim.”
We move onto sweeping, which is fun and intense. It requires listening carefully to your teammates to know when to sweep and when not to. Sweeping, which I didn’t know is used to keep a stonet moving further—not to make it move faster. You sweep so that the friction makes a better area for the stone to move through.
The Long Island Curling Club was nice enough to let us join a game, and Naomi and I were able to show off our newly found skills as we both placed a stone in the rings. At one point Matt and I have a small conversation about how this became his hobby. He said to me that he didn’t need to try everything–because he found his passion—curling. And I think that’s an important lesson in this year as well–it’s not always about trying something new–but just about finding something you love and sticking with it. Think about it–when was the last time you continued doing your FAVORITE thing in the world? Probably not as often as you’d like. I admire Matt for having that dedication in his life—especially to a sport that’s so difficult to find, right here in New York City.
As the game came to an end, Naomi looked at me and said “Can we keep doing this as a hobby.”
I smiled and responded: “Naomi, That’s how I feel after everything I try. But—yes–yes we can.”
Long Island Curling Club