Those are the words that hang over the official rink of the Royal Montreal Curling Club. Established in 1807, back when people were outside throwing rocks down the ice of the ST. Lawrence River, it’s since become a place for people to eat, drink, and throw 40 pound stones at each other to see who can get it closest to the center of a huge target on the other side of the ice.
After we first stepped into the chilled indoor curling rink, the people instructing our group made us put “sliders” on our shoes. These are basically little pads that hook onto the bottom of your shoe and reduce the friction of your shoe on the ice to zero. This means theoretically you can use the other foot to push yourself off, gliding along the ice majestically. Hah. After putting them all on, some people fell, some flew, and some did hilarious spasmodic dances on the ice desperately trying to find something to hold onto. But in the end after a few minutes everyone was gliding like a pro.
Later when we had learned all of the basics of throwing, sweeping, and spotting, we quickly split into teams and dived into a true-blue curling game. And let me tell you, things got heated pretty quickly. You would watch someone throw the stone and immediately hear shouts of “HARD!” from our instructors and suddenly you’d be sweeping the ice in front of the stone like a madman desperately trying to give that stone those extra few inches and hit your target. The moment when your team’s stone hits exactly where it needed to, setting off a chain reaction of hits that lands your team’s stone closest to the center, made us realize why people now call this a competitive sport. We came out of the Royal Montreal Curling Club laughing, talking about our own hilarious throws and falls, but most of all we came out some experience with a pretty badass Canadian sport under our belts.
– Ryan Leslie, Game Art Major, Spring 2014