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Slide right in. Curling Club of Virginia invites you to come Curling

Posted at 11:42 PM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-16 08:12:02-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Admit it. You've channel surfed during the Olympics and stopped the remote on a curling game, watching, trying to figure out the strategy, the attraction and most importantly, the scoring.

Curling began in the early 16th century in Scotland.

Here in the early 21st century in America, it has become more and more popular, especially around the Olympics.

The Curling Club of Virginia adds to the 1.5 million registered players around the world. That number grows every time someone gives it a try. More often than not, they are hooked.

"Really, it has something for everybody," said Curling Club of Virginia member Ryan McGhee.  "There's the health and fitness aspect. I put in a few thousand steps each curling game. Then there's the social aspect which really got me into the sport. It's a game where you can have a conversation with your teammates and competitors during the game."

"I guess I kinda like weird sports. I don't know. It's fun!!" added fellow club member James Deyerle.

Curling is played with teams of three or four men and women, sometimes mixed together.

You know about the stones, they are made of granite and must weight between 38 and 44 pounds. Most come from an island off the coast of Scotland.

The ice is called a curling sheet.

Throwers will slide the rocks down about 150 feet towards the giant bulls eye at the end which is called the house.

Each team throws eight stones in each end, which is similar to an inning in baseball.

Now, to explain the scoring.

"One team can score per end," said McGhee.  "After all 16 rocks are thrown, you look at the house. The team that has the rock closest to the middle, they're the team that scores. However many rocks they have inside their opponent's closest rock, that's how many points you get."

Everyone takes turns throwing two rocks per end. When you're not throwing, you're sweeping, or more accurately, scrubbing the ice ahead of the rock.

"Sweeping does two things," Deyerle explain. "It makes the stone go farther and it makes the stone go straighter. When you curl, it's called that because you give the stone a little twist when you release it."

One player per team is the captain, or the Skip. They throw last and are responsible for the strategy in placing rocks for scoring.

Curling is usually incorrectly compared to shuffleboard. A better comparison is chess requiring players to think multiple steps ahead of their opponents.

"Sometimes there's a guard you have to get around," said Deyerle.  "Maybe you have to do a take out or a hit and roll."

"It's a game you can play at any age. I've gotten my butt kicked by kids in high school and by 80-year olds," McGhee confessed. "Anyone can excel at this sport."

"The best time you'll ever have in your life is at a bonspeil. When you're out there with your fellow curlers, it's all about having a good time."

The Curling Club of Virginia is hosting several Learn2Curl sessions scheduled for the week of March 10-18. You can find a schedule and more information on their website.

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Beyond the Roster airs Thursdays on CBS 6 News at 11.