You’ll have to excuse the punny headline. I borrowed it from the sister of a curling teammate. Regardless, it does describe how interest in curling is growing as a result of recent Olympic coverage.
Yesterday, Sarah and I worked for three hours at an Olympic open house hosted by the Madison Curling Club. I’ve worked several open houses over the past four years and I’ve never seen more than twenty or thirty people turn out for any given open house. However, several hundred people turned out yesterday to give curling a try. Nearly all of them were driven to attend by the coverage of the sport during the Turin Olympic Games. It would not be exaggeration to say that almost no one was expecting the number of people who showed up at the club. A common comment we heard was “I don’t necessarily understand the game, but it was on all the time, and I wanted to give it a try.” Of course, after trying to deliver and sweep a stone, the nearly universal response was, “Wow! It is much harder than it looks.”
Many of the people who came out to try the sport will hopefully sign up to play next fall. That’s a long time to try and keep people hooked on a sport based on some television coverage and a half-hour on the ice, but we try.
It is heartening to see more people signing up for the sport. In Canada, a million people or more curl regularly. In the United States, there are roughly 15,000 active curlers. The more people we can get curling, the better the facilites we can build, the better the competition we can face, and ultimately, the better we can do at major curling events like the Olympics.