Popular in Scotland, Canada, and some parts of the midwestern United States, Curling is a sport that not everyone has had a chance to play, so it’s not surprising if you haven’t learned the rules of this game. The sport’s vernacular can also be confusing to someone who isn’t familiar with it. Here’s your primer for curling.
Curling, which is played on the ice, consists of four-person teams. A team includes the lead, second, third, and skip. The skip is the captain who determines the rink’s strategy during the game. Players take turns, starting with the lead, pushing a 44-pound weight known as a stone across the ice toward a target known as a house.
Initially, the stone remains in the player’s possession via a handle that can rotate the stone to aim it. When the player reaches the near hog line, they turn and release the stone. This causes the stone to curve or curl as it moves down the ice, giving the game its name. As the stone glides across the ice, two players sweep brooms back and forth in front of the stone to help it move closer to the center of the target, also known as the button.
This process repeats with the second, third, and skip each throwing two stones across the ice for a total of eight stones. The game is divided into eight parts known as ends, and one stone is pushed in each end. Every player will have a chance to throw the stone and sweep, so they must be skilled at both tasks. The lead must be good at throwing guards, which block the other team from reaching the target, while the third typically throws “draws” that are intended to score by landing in the house.
In curling, points are awarded for stones inside the house. Every stone can earn a point, an occurrence known as an eight-ender. However, each team wants to block the other side from reaching the house and may even use its stones to move the other team’s stones out of the house, a tactic known as a takeout.