It’s been ups and downs so far, but mostly ups. The first week’s session went well — curling immersion, walking us through delivery, sweeping, skipping and strategy plus two ends of game play in two hours. But I must have overdone it, because at the beginning of the second session I managed all of one delivery before I pulled a muscle in my leg and went home early. But then we had a week off, and that was enough for me to heal up, because Sunday night’s session went pretty well! We only did about half an hour of instruction (still on delivery and balance) before splitting up into teams to play a few ends (four, on our sheet). I played skip to give my legs a bit of a rest from sweeping, but I’ll make up for that later, since they make us rotate through all four positions before we play a position we’ve already played again.
By late January or so they expect us to be playing full 6-8 end games, and the instruction turns more to coaching, and at that point we should be able to fill in as spares in the social leagues. It should make this winter go a bit quicker — not only having a winter sport to play, but an indoor one, in a room that’s at best refrigerator-cold, followed up by a couple of pints in a warm room. And there wasn’t even any equipment expenditure — they provide the brooms (and the rocks, of course), and until I want to commit to (fast, slippery) curling shoes, a stripe of double-width packing tape down the sole of one running shoe is plenty slippery enough to learn on. (The other shoe needs to be grippy, and tennis shoes are grippy enough.)
We’re all still pretty bad curlers — scoring is 80% fluke and 20% effort at this point. But it’s a lot of fun to play, and a social game on top of that: the tradition is for the winning skip to buy the losing skip a beer, and the winning third the losing third, and so forth, and then reverse things for the second round. About half of the curlers stick around afterwards (it is 9:00 PM on Sunday at that point).
And now that you’ve had to read about curling, here’s some various links I’ve been meaning to recommend lately: