WESTFIELD, NJ – You don’t need a Zamboni for this one, just the will to launch a 44-pound “rock” across the ice.
Members of the Plainfield Curling Club and Curl NYC sprayed water droplets over the smooth ice of the Westfield Rink creating a pebbled surface to host lessons for 21 people on the basics of curling on Thursday night. The rough surface, organizers said, helps to mimic that which would be found outdoors.
Dean Roth, a member and past president of Curl NYC, is a professional curler having competed in Norway, Iceland, Italy and Spain.
“It’s an underserved population as far as curling ice goes,” said Roth, 56. “What we’re trying to do is provide more opportunities for people to experience curling.”
The sport appeals disproportionally to analytical thinkers because of its strategic nature, he said. Scoring is based on two competing teams launching 16 rocks toward circular targets, but no team scores until the last stone is launched.
“When all the stones are delivered that is when you score,” Roth said. “You don’t necessarily want your stone to be in good scoring position when you throw it. You want it to be in a good scoring position eight stones later.”
The sport has a chess-like component to it, he said, in that opposing teams can knock each other’s rocks out of the top scoring spots. The team-like component of the sport enters the fray when participants smooth over the ice in front of the moving stones with “brooms” as the stones head into their scoring positions.
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It’s a good workout, Roth said, at the event where team members could be seen and heard scrubbing the ice with brooms, a process called “sweeping.”
“When you’re sweeping, you’re actually trying to bear down on the broom to put your body weight on the ice to create friction so you are essentially doing interval training where you are working hard for 24 to 30 seconds,” he said. “Then you have a minute off and then you do that again, and you keep it up for two hours.”
The curling session at the Westfield Rink, which has been placed in Westfield’s Gumbert Park through March 1, is one among a series of upcoming activities at the new rink, which has drawn both wide support from the community and concern from some living near to the rink.
Here’s the schedule:
Saturday – Feb. 16 - 5:50-7:20 p.m. - Emergency services, township services “Thank You” skate. All members of local emergency services (Police, Fire, EMS, etc.), as well as members of any local township department (and their families), can skate for free (both admission and skate rental). Members of the public are welcome to attend to help thank these people.
Monday – Feb. 18 – “Curling for Kids” - Two 45 minute sessions – 6:20 and 7:15 p.m. – 32 players per session (cross ice) - $30 per player. Email Ken Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Saturday – Feb. 23 – 1:10-2:20 p.m. – An adaptive skate for youths with special needs. The maximum is 40 participants. Contact Caitlin Anderson at email@example.com for more information.
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