Curling enthusiasts rejoice! On October 21, the Black Swamp Curling Center will hold its grand opening marking the 50th anniversary of the Bowling Green Curling Club. The celebration, open to the public with live music and refreshments, offers the chance to take part in the sport by throwing a ‘rock’ – the term for an iconic piece of equipment.
Played on a lane of ice, the game consists of teams attempting to slide as many of their rocks as close as possible to the center of a circle on the far end of the ice, known as the ‘house’. Teams score points with rocks closest to the center. There is a great deal of strategy and skill involved, making it a sport that requires planning and finesse, drawing in participants from all backgrounds. With the Olympics approaching, and with the new facility, the club is hoping to see many new and excited faces.
Get Swept Up
Angie Jones, five-year club veteran, has advice for the interested newcomer. Attend one of the club’s Learn-to-Curl classes and “Come warmly dressed. We’ll get you used to throwing rocks and the game format.” She suggests clean tennis shoes and comfortable pants. “You don’t have to be good at all of it, just start with one thing. I started with sweeping. Build the rest of your skills from there. Find a comfortable place whether you’re focusing on delivery, sweeping, or strategy.”
Angie identifies the most challenging aspect of the sport as “Consistency. You’re always striving for the next level. The easiest thing to learn is sliding the rock down the ice as hard as you can. No finesse, just launch it. You’re probably going to mess up your strategy, but you’ll hit something. But when a challenging and crucial shot is called, and you actually execute, that’s the best.”
In addition to classes for new curlers, the club provides smaller equipment for the younger crowd, as well as adaptive provisions for those who may require some assistance to participate.
“Absolutely, we have adaptive curling available. Say someone has a sore back, or weak knees, or a hip issue. We have a delivery stick that helps you play. We have guys in their eighties who play and can beat us. We have an instructor who is certified to teach people in wheelchairs how to curl.”
The new facility also boasts a bar where the winners buy the losing teams a drink. Since the club is celebrating 50 years the bar will be highlighting 50 different craft beers throughout the season. Even if you don’t step foot on the ice, they invite you to come in, have a drink, and enjoy their televised games.
Located six miles south of Levis Commons on State Rt. 25, the club’s Learn-to-Curl clinics cost $20 per person. Participants will learn how to ‘deliver a rock’, sweeping techniques, rules, and general etiquette. For those looking to take their newly-learned skills to the next level, a 6-week instructional league starts November 6.
Black Swamp Curling Center
19901 N. Dixie Highway. Bowling Green, Ohio.