The Vancouver Curling Club is turning 100 this year, but instead of leaving a comment on their Facebook page, how about you drop by and visit for a change. My family and I decided to do just that recently, and in all honestly, I spent most of that time having my mind changed about a pretty amazing game.
The Vancouver Curling club got their start in the basement of the Denman arena and over the years have occupied several homes in the city before landing quite comfortably in the Hillcrest Centre, the legacy curling facility from the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games. There’s a lot of curling history there and a lot of Vancouver history also.
We were given over to Luke, a VCC volunteer who taught us the finer points of the game such as the names of all the markings on the rink. We learned very quickly that curlers tell it like it is. The line at the front of the house, is the front line, the one at the back, the back line and so on. The only real mystery was the oddly named hogline. Once on the ice, Luke very smartly, the first thing he did was have us take our brooms and sweep from one end of sheet to the other and back again. I was reasonably spent and any illusions I had about this being an easy game were more or less swept away. We also got to try our hand at sliding those big 42 plus pound curling stones (called the throw). This is another thing that looks reasonably simple but isn’t. There’s a great deal of balance required to simply get the stone moving without falling on your butt (something I did at least once). Once you’ve managed to even get a stone moving you then have to concern yourself with how hard you’re throwing (weight) and how much it’s going to curve (curl). I threw six rocks or more during our lesson and only one of them came to rest in an area that would be considered “in play”. Instead of throwing my broom aside in defeat though I just felt more compelled to try again, it really is a lot of fun. Plus, curling offers unlimited opportunities for celebratory air guitar playing.
If you think you’d like to check out the Vancouver Curling Club and learn more about this great game they are holding another open house as part of Sports Day in Canada this Saturday September 29th, from 1 to 4 pm at the Hillcrest Community Centre. There are even more celebrations planned for the weekend of October 12th to 14th when the club officially celebrates it’s centennial. More information can be found here.