After years of arguing, baselessly, that curling is not a real sport, I finally got my comeuppance on the ice.
My wife and her U of Maryland Criminology department peers proposed a group outing involving staff and student spouses, and so I followed. We got a brief rundown on the rules and the insane scoring system, then we got a shot at breaking into groups for a friendly competition filled with begrudging calls of “good curling!” Our group was broken into, of course, men versus women. And the women won.
I still learned some things. Why is it called curling? Because you “curl” the stone—a 45-pound polished piece of granite with a handle—from the direction indicated by the skip’s hand towards his broom. Less a curl, more of a gentle spin. The team with the stone(s) nearest to the target wins the point(s) for each round.
What’s with the brooms? You create enough friction to leave a thin layer of water, allowing the stone to hydroplane towards the house (target). I’m not joking when I say that the sweepers can add another 20 feet to the distance the stone moves just by hard, fast, short sweeps while running dangerously on the ice. Sweeping is also really hard; I was out of breath every time I was sweeping. For what it's worth, though, I'm told I'm a very good sweeper.
This is something I would do again. It was very strange. Next strange activity of choice: Caber tossing.