The Winter Olympics start in one year and the Today Show is starting to get in the Olympic spirit. And what a better way to do it then to show off the great sport of curling.
Fortunately, when the thermometer hit 104º today, I was working inside. When I finally ventured out at 6:00 pm it was still 100°. Ahhh…the dog days of summer have officially arrived, with many more to come.
I can’t wait to get out of the heat and onto the ice for a few weeks this summer. The Lone Star Curling Club is offering a four-week session for those wanting to learn the sport and others who want to improve their game. Four dates; three in July, one in August (more info).
Up north – above the border and near it on this side – I think it would be easier to find a moose with a pink umbrella drink than a curler on the ice in the summer time. Most curling clubs shut down from April/May to September and many folks move from the rink to the golf course (it is, after all, the Scot-invented summer sport).
That is why I love summer curling in Austin. Getting on the ice during the dog days of July and August is better than Snow Beach, Lake Travis and SUP’ing put together. But more than that, it’s a chance to share in the excitement of introducing new curlers to the game and watching them get hooked. As for the rest of us? Keep perfecting those curling skills and take advantage of any ice time we can get. Perhaps one day our skills will be good enough to compete successfully on a national or international level. Keep those summer sessions coming!
In the meantime, my personal goal is simple – keep my flip flops from melting between the car and the front door of the rink….
My son Jono, who is 17, and I have been curling for the last two years in Austin. I got back into it after the 2010 Olympics; before that I had curled many, many (ok, too many) years ago in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. They held the U.S. Men’s Nationals there in ’73? Or was it ’74? The memory has faded but not the love of the sport.
To be able to curl in Central Texas has been ridiculously fun. But it’s not just getting back on the ice and curling, which would be more than enough. No, it’s given us a chance to spend time together every Sunday morning competing, socializing and improving our games. Afterwords, we analyze our efforts over brunch. If only we could get more ice time to work on those improvements.
Last weekend, we competed together in our first bonspiel, the Texas Open in Dallas. The Dallas club did an outstanding job putting the event together with teams from all over the U.S. and Canada competing. We played in the golf outing on Friday morning, then had two games Friday evening and two on Saturday. While we didn’t win the curling competition, we walked away with something more. A weekend together having a blast competing, meeting new friends from other clubs (love the Canadians), and learning from those who’ve been curling for dozens of years.
But the best part was spending time with my son. With all the time demands and craziness in our daily lives, it’s rewarding when you have a weekend of quality time doing something you both love and can share. These times will be cherished.
Yay for curling!
The annual picnic was recently held and we also held the annual meeting. At the meeting we had the voting take place for the President, Vice President and general board members. The new board is as follows:
President: Ken Poklitar
Vice President: Buck Krawczyk
Board Members: Dennis Dunn, Pat Popovich, Uly Suchil, Wayne Garman, Darin Henley, Tim Given, Joe Glaeser, Landon Russell
Thanks to outgoing board members Rob Klein, Randy Sabbagh and Michelle Richter. Also big thanks to Wayne Garman our President for the past several years who is stepping down as President but staying on the board.
The first board meeting will be after curling on May 20th at Cover 3. Everyone is welcome to attend.
University of Texas student Jessica Smith recently completed a school project that involved creating a website and video of Lone Star Curlers in action!
Click on the ‘Who’s in the “cool” club?’ menu item to find us!
Hope you got an A+!
Lone Star Curling Featured on KEYE’s We Are Austin Live!
A group of Lone Star curlers spent Friday morning with Hunter Ellis of the KEYE We Are Austin Live TV show. Pat Popovich was interviewed about how to curl as the rest of our group curled in the background. Eventually Hunter took a few shots and for a beginner did a great job. He hopes to join the club in March.
The story aired on KEYE today (Monday January 9th) at 4 p.m. It was great TV segment covering all aspects of the sport.
Here is a video of one of the segments from the show.
Curling is a game of skill and traditions.
Curlers play to win but never to humble their opponents.
A good curler NEVER attempts to distract an opponent.
A curler never deliberately breaks a rule or any of its traditions. But, if a curler should do so inadvertently and be aware of it, he or she is the first to divulge the breach.
The spirit of the game demands good sportsmanship, and honorable conduct.
Shake hands and say “Good Curling” before a match.
Shake hands after saying “Good game” after a match.
Only the thirds decide the score. Everyone else on each team will stay outside of the house.
Sweepers walk down the sides of sheet out of the view of the thrower and skip.
Sweepers stand to the sides of the house so the thrower can see the broom.
Never walk across a sheet in front of a thrower.
If you burn a rock (touch it with your broom), say so.
Have the rock ready for the thrower on the other team.
As soon as the thrower clears the hack, be in position for your throw, keep the game moving.
Don’t argue with each other during a game, the skip is the captain. Chat after about any misunderstandings.
If you want to point out an error concerning a player on the opposing team tell your skip to mention it to their skip.
Make sure your shoes are clean before you step on the ice.
Curling is a POLITE sport. Sportsmanship is first, winning second.
What are the different roles?
- Shot making – Each person makes 2 shots an end. Your delivery is the most technical aspect of the game of curling. It is something that can be practiced and improved. The more consistent your delivery is, the more likely the result of your shot is going to be positive. The skip will communicate the turn, the weight and the line of the shot that is required but you need to make the shot.
- Sweepers – The sweepers themselves are responsible for judging the weight of the stone, ensuring the length of travel is correct and communicating the weight of the stone back to the skip. The people closest to the rock has the best ability to judge the weight. The sweepers also need to be aware of the shot called.
- Line calling – The skip evaluates the path of the stone and calls to the sweepers to sweep as necessary to maintain the intended track.
- Shot calling – The skip is the in-game strategist for the team. The skip is the person who makes the decision what shot is called. The skip needs to communicate this information to the person making the shot. The skip needs to be aware of the strength and weakness of each of his teammates and take that into account when calling a shot. The skip also needs to be confident enough to be willing to take advice when necessary. Watch your opponent’s shots.
After each shot, each player needs to review how they performed their role. A shot may have been missed because of any or all of the roles being performed poorly. A shot can be throw perfectly but if the sweeping, line calling or shot calling was not done correctly, the result will be a miss instead of a perfect shot.
If you have weaknesses in one or more roles, how do you improve?
- Watch and talk to better players. What are they doing different compared to you? Don’t be afraid of asking for advice. Communicate with your teammates.
- Practice when possible. For shot-making, practicing your delivery is more important than playing a practice game.
- Read about curling. There is some good information on the internet.
- Watch curling. The Canadian tsn.ca will show a lot of curling starting in February. Watching some of these games will make you amazed and it will seem like they are playing a different game.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 10, 2011 – U.S. Senior National Championships on tap in North Dakota
(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – As the 2011/12 competitive season continues, 25 senior teams will compete
to earn the right to represent the U.S. at the upcoming World Senior Championships. Eighteen men’s
teams, age 50 and over, will compete at the Capital Curling Club in Bismarck, N.D., for the 2012 USA
Curling Senior Men’s National Championship title on Nov. 30 – Dec. 4.
The men’s field includes the 2010 senior world gold medalists, led by Paul Pustovar of Hibbing, Minn.
Also skipping is tw0 – time U.S. senior champion David Russell (LaCrosse, Wis.).Last year’s Senior
Nationals runnerup Phil DeVore (Superior, Wis.), who earned a silver medal at the 2011 world senior
championships as alternate for Team USA, is back for another chance to lead the U.S. The men’s teams
will be split into three pools for a divisional round robin with a double knockout provision with six teams
advancing to the quarterfinals.
Seven ladies teams will compete from Dec 2 -4 on the four sheet Grafton Curling Club in Grafton, ND.
The women’s field features the defending U.S. senior champions led by Margie Smith (St. Paul, Minn.)
as well as tw0 – time U.S. senior champions Pam Oleinik (Brookfield, Wis.), Sharon Vukich (Seattle)
and Anne Wiggins (Hendersonville, N.C.). The women’s format will be a round robin with a double
The winning teams will represent the U.S. at the 2012 World Senior Championships, which will take
place April 14 – 21 in Tärnby, Denmark. Live scoring from both senior national championships will be
posted on the USA Curling website (www.usacurl.org/curlingrocks) through its partnership with
CurlingZone. Webstreaming plans are tentative.
Proper sweeping can add as much as 6-8 feet in length to the stone in the last 1/3 of the sheet. Sweeping earlier adds even more length – often as much as 10-12 feet. That could extend the stone the entire length of the house. But don’t take my word for it. The University of Western Ontario conducted research for Canadian Olympic team on the effects of sweeping prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics. In addition to how far sweeping will send the stone, here’s what else they found:
• A 45 – 90 degree angle is best for sweeping in front of the stone, i.e., wider is better as it maximizes the surface area covered. So when you’re sweeping, keep the head of the broom horizontal (90°) to the front of the stone – or at a 45° angle max.
• The area three feet in front of the stone is the optimum area for sweeping. Keep it as close to the stone as possible.
• The outside sweeper begins the warming process allowing the inside sweeper to create even more heat in front of the stone.If the sweepers are outside the three-foot zone, the effects are generally lost. The second sweeper warms up the ice for the first sweeper, . When done effectively in tandem, it optimizes the length the stone will travel. Adding a third sweeper adds little to no additional effect on the stone.
• Keep your broom as clean and dry as possible.