Romancing the Stone

This is Noah Bailey, and he is "throwing the stone." We have other pictures of him "passing a stone." We kept those to ourselves.

Sunday afternoon my compatriots and I found ourselves driving toward Duncanville in the middle of a raging thunderstorm. Why, you ask? Olympic dreams, that's why. You see, we were on our way to the D/FW Curling Club's Open House event at the Duncanville Stars Center. And we could not wait to hit the ice.

One of the more entertaining events in the Winter Olympics, curling is basically shuffleboard on ice, only with more yelling. It is also the only Olympic sport I know of where someone who is both middle-aged and overweight can win a medal, which means I still have a good 15 or 20 years to complete my quest for the gold. As our club instructor explained it, a team consists of four members--one to call the shots and make strategic decisions (the "skip"), one to hurl the 43-pound stone toward the target (known as the "house") and two to sweep the ice in front of the stone as it slides toward its destination (sweeping temporarily melts the ice, which can extend the distance a stone is thrown by several feet). Everyone hurls the stone at some point, rotating positions every two throws.

Surprisingly, some 50 participants braved the storm to learn the basics of the game. Even more surprisingly, at least a third of them were Canadians. (Canucks in Duncanville--who woulda thought?) And while curling may look easy on TV, I can assure you, it is actually quite difficult and way more intense than shuffleboard--I've certainly never heard one senior citizen scream, "Go hard!" at another on any cruise ship I've ever been on. So, if you want to beat what's left of the summer heat with some icy competition, find a sweet curling T-shirt or just listen to some real-life Canadians say "aboot," the D/FW Curling Club offers two more open houses on September 24 and October 22 as well as league play for those willing to pay membership dues and ice fees. And for those of you wishing to remain spectators, we do hope you'll be seeing our team, the Short and Curlings, in the 2014 Winter Olympics. --Noah Bailey

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky