It’s cold outside, and that means that people are curling in clubs across Canada and the Midwest. And since the John Shuster’s US team won the gold medal last year, interest in curling is at an all-time high in this great nation.
I’m planning on capitalizing on this by writing a few articles about curling. At this point I am planning on these to be focused on curling in these great United States, but I may offer a little International and Canadian coverage in the future.
I’m not going to talk a lot about the basics of curling; I expect that if you are reading a curling article that you have a basic knowledge of the sport. To get a basic understanding of the sport, check out this short cartoon here.
Curling in the states generally takes place in curling clubs. Most of these facilities are located in the Upper Midwest and the Northeast, as well as in larger cities across the country. Some of these clubs rent out ice time in hockey arenas; many clubs play in dedicated curling facilities. The social aspect of curling is a big deal at most clubs; dedicated facilities generally have bars and the winners buy the losers the first round after a game.
Is there College Curling?
Yes, but it isn’t really much of a thing in the USA. Some colleges that happen to be near a curling club put together teams and sometimes play against other college teams. Check out collegecurlingusa.org to see how the collegiate teams rank. Nebraska, Minnesota, and Purdue apparently all have teams. The Huskers are currently the fourth ranked team in the country. The Purdue team has 11 reported points, but 0 verified points for what that is worth.
Young curlers generally form junior teams with other curlers from their own or nearby clubs. They do not usually have anything to do with the college curling teams. There are junior tournaments (21 and under) that lead to Junior Nationals, which leads to a berth in the World Junior Championships.
Is curling fun?
Yes, curling is a fun sport. If you live anywhere near a curling club, you should check it out and take a Learn to Curl class. If you don’t have a good time on the ice, you can at least have a cold one afterwards.
Most curlers in the US are at the social, non-competitive level. They curl in weekly leagues and travel to other clubs for weekend long curling tournaments (and drinking parties) called Bonspiels. If you want to get more competitive, you can compete in World Curling Tour events that award cash prizes and coveted ranking points. If you do well enough in those, you can qualify for the US Curling Nationals. This year Nationals take place in Kalamazoo from February 9-16.
The future of the Curling Curner
I am planning on writing at least a few more of these articles. Hopefully future articles are a little bit more focused on a particular topic and not as rambling as this one. Next week there will be articles breaking down the Men’s and Women’s fields for US Nationals. After that I hope to write a guide to watching curling on the Internet, as there are many, many games on YouTube and other sites. If you have any questions about curling or ideas for future curling articles, let me know.