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Curling is a sport in which players slide stones across a sheet of ice towards a target area.
Two teams of four players slide 42 pound granite stones across the ice curling sheet towards the house, which is the target at the end of the sheet. The teams consist of a Skip, Third, Second and Lead. The Skip is the chief strategist for the team. Each member, beginning with the Lead, throws two stones for a total of eight stones. The way to win the game is to accumulate the most points. Points are scored for the stones which are closest to the center of the house at the conclusion of each end. A game may consist of ten or eight ends.
Curling gets it's name from the turning of the stone as it slides on the ice. The curl of each thrown stone is caused by the way a curler's hand is turned when they release their stone. The path and distance of the stone can be further influenced by the sweepers using their brooms as they travel down the sheet with the thrown stone. The brooms are used to alter the ice in front of the stone. Curling is a game of strategy where the curlers try to place their stones in the best position in each end. The skill and strategy required to properly place a team's stones is what gives curling the nickname “chess on ice”. Curling is sometimes also referred to as “the roaring game” because of the sound the stone makes as it slides down the ice over the pebbles, which are water droplets on the ice surface.
Curling is thought to have originated in late Medieval Scotland. A curling stone which bore the date 1511, and another bearing the date 1551, were found when a pond was drained in Dunblane, Scotland. In early curling, the players depended more on luck than skill, because the stones were usually just flat bottomed river stones, not the smooth polished stones in use today.
Curling was an outdoor sport in Scotland in the 16th - 19th centuries. The first organized curling club in Scotland was established in 1716 in Kilsyth, it is still around today. Scotland is home to the World Curling Federation, the governing body for the sport of curling. Scottish immigrants took the sport of curling to Canada and the first club in North America opened in 1807. The first club in the United States was created outside of Detroit, Michigan in 1830. Today, curling is played all over Europe and has spread to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Korea.
Good sportsmanship is an essential element in the sport of curling. The Spirit of Curling is the traditional practice of the winning team buying drinks for the the losing team after a game. Players are also expected to call their own fouls during the game, such as informing the opposing team's skip when a stone is burned. Burning a stone occurs when a broom or body part touches a stone after it has been thrown.
Sometimes a team will concede when it no longer has a reasonable expectation of winning a game. Concession is not considered to be “quitting”, it is an honorable act that allows for more socializing time at the conclusion of the game. To concede a match the losing team removes their curling gloves and offer handshakes to the other team. Regardless of whether a game is conceded or won during its natural course, a game ends with sincere congratulations and handshakes all around.
THE GOLDEN RULE OF CURLING: Curling is a gentleperson's game of long tradition and one where the Golden Rule prevails, during and after the game.