2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Curling 101: It’s a civil sport

Published: February 26, 2014, 8:44 pm, by Dena Rosenberry

HandshakeOne of the things I enjoy about curling is the camaraderie among athletes, no matter the level of competition.

Whether you’re at Sunday afternoon family league or the Olympics, curling games begin with handshakes between the teams – and usually a handshake, pat on the back or fist bump among teammates.

Good shots are congratulated – by your opponents as well as your teammates. Bad shots are commiserated. (We’ve all been there, no need to rub it in.)

If someone if having a rough streak, missing shot after shot, and then breaks that streak – he or she likely will get a “nice shot!” or high-five from the opposition, even if that means a lost point.

Missed shots are never cheered.

There’s lighthearted banter, but no real trash talking. You can be ejected from a game for cursing or stomping around or slamming your broom in frustration. You’ll hear a swear word now and then, but not a string of them. You’ll hear someone smack a broom on the ice when he misses a key shot, but he’ll probably be red-faced with embarrassment for doing so. And will apologize.

One of my dreams is to bring the sport to teens in Colorado – to introduce them to a sport that prizes good sportsmanship, requires individual excellence and mental and physical discipline, and demands great teamwork.

If you’re interested in learning to curl, you can sign up for lessons at the Broadmoor Curling Club’s website, the Denver Curling Club’s website, with Fort Collins or ATeam USA - Sochi - handshakespen – or, if you live elsewhere, check the calendar of events and list of clubs nationwide at the USA Curling website.

And while I’m at it, I’m giving a shout out to one of the great gentlemen of the game in the United States: Brady Clark, who is national champion and an all-around great guy who curls out of the Granite Curling Club in Seattle. He’s fiercely competitive but always gracious on and off the ice.

You can “meet” Brady (below) in this wonderful feature story that just appeared in the Lynnwood Herald. The writer, Bruce Overstreet, captured the essence of this American sportsman. It makes me even more eager to meet up with Brady and his wife, Cristin, again, at the U.S. Mixed National Championships in March.

Brady ClarkGood curling, everyone!

Send your questions about curling and comments to dena.rosenberry@gazette.com.

Follow me on Twitter: @djrosenberry