Curling is an option for families in Maryland

If your kids like the ice but are not great at skating, want to be part of a team and love a game with strategy, why not give curling a try? T

“Curling is a great sport for everyone, from kids to adults, and is a great sport for families,” says Jill Ferris, a member of the Chesapeake Curling Club at the Talbot Community Center in Easton, one of two clubs in the area.

Curling2 WCurling is an Olympic sport where eight players slide granite rocks down a sheet of ice aiming at a circular target, or “house.” As the rock travels down the ice, teammates sweep the ice in front of it to help it move straighter and farther down its course to the house. Lots of strategy and teamwork, coupled with some good luck, go into placement of the team’s rocks to get the highest score for a game.

“Curling has a broad appeal to all different kinds of people,” Ferris says. “Some love cold-weather sports and dream of attending the Olympics. Others love the intellectual challenge of a sport that is frequently called 'chess on ice.' For some with physical limitations ... curling offers a chance to actively engage in a sport that can be adapted based on need. Personally, though, I love the sportsmanship and social aspects of the sport. After each game both teams sit down at a table to enjoy fellowship and snacks (something we call 'broomstacking').”

Several curling clubs in the area offer opportunities to give curling a try and both have curling classes for youth.Curling1 W

The Chesapeake Curling Club has a Learn to Curl event scheduled for Feb. 20. Each Learn to Curl experience is $20 and open to anyone 12 and older. Sessions begin every 15 minutes from 1 to 3 p.m. and last an hour and a half. Register on the website at chesapeakecurling.org. The club also has Junior Curling open to all families with members younger than 21. See the website for details.

The Potomac Curling Club, based at the National Capital Curling Center in Laurel, also has Try Curling Open Houses to learn about the sport and Saturday Breakfast Extravaganzas that offer instruction and game time to new curlers.

A Try Curling Open House is scheduled for Feb. 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Instruction lasts about an hour and teaches the essential skills. Cost is $10 per person or $20 per family. Saturday Breakfast Extravaganzas are scheduled for Feb. 6 and 20, 8 a.m.-noon. Instruction is 8-9 a.m., breakfast is available from 8:45-9:15 a.m. and curling from 9-11:45 a.m. Cost is $20, plus a suggested donation of $3-4 for breakfast. Advance registration for all events at curldc.org is required.

The club also has youth curling programs for elementary age children up to age 21. See the website for details.

At both clubs, equipment is provided, but those signed up should wear warm, loose-fitting clothes with flat, rubber-soled shoes like sneakers.

By Betsy Stein

Photo courtesy of the Chesapeake Curling Club

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