Curling, an official Winter Olympics sport popular in Canada and several European countries, has finally made its way to campus with the formation of the GW Curling Club.
Sophomores Laura Yee and Jason Kramer registered the new group as an official student organization this fall as a way to start competing in tournaments with their fellow GW curlers.
“People tend to think I curl my hair or that I lift weights,” said Yee about her involvement in the uncommon sport.
Yee and Kramer said that curling is a sport that can be played by almost anyone. Experience, rather than body type, is a key factor in winning.
“Honestly, in this sport, you can be beaten by a 65 year old,” said Kramer, who took up curling two years ago at home in New York (and has, in fact, been beaten by a 65 year old). “You don’t work up a sweat, unless you leave your jacket or sweater on.”
Curling is played on a sheet of ice, with two teams of four players each. At both ends of the ice, each player throws two curling rocks, alternating throws with the opposing team’s players. The rocks, which weigh 44 pounds and are made of polished granite, are thrown down the ice as players try to make the stone stop within a set of rings painted on the ice.
For each shot, two players on the shooter’s team are equipped with brushes or brooms, which they use to sweep the ice in front of the gliding rock to alter its trajectory.
Each team wins a point for every rock that is closer to the center circle than its opponent’s. The team with the highest number of points after each group tosses eight stones is the winner.
To practice, the GW curling club heads out to the Potomac Curling Club Sunday mornings in Laurel, Md. So far, the group has held two meetings and three on-ice practices. Yee said there are about four dedicated members on the team, but that approximately 20 people have showed interest in the club. The team’s first competition will be in Chicago in March.
With 10 years of curling experience under his belt, freshman Brian Kebbekus has had the most practice out of all the players in GW’s Curling Club.
“My dad was curling since he was a little kid and my grandpa has been curling for about that long too,” said Kebbekus, who used to curl at home in Milwaukee, where the sport is popular. “I was expecting a little more experience from the club, but I guess being this far south I shouldn’t have.”