David Rank, 42, a current member of the Racine Curling Club, got into the sport around four years ago, during the last Winter Olympics. Although Rank lives in Round Lake, Ill., he attended an open house in Racine and then played as part of the club’s short Olympic league that year.
“That’s what really hooked me, is actually playing the game,” Rank said. Then he joined as a regular member the following fall. Rank also enjoys the social aspect of the sport. “I like the camaraderie,” he said.
Curling is played on a different kind of ice than skating ice. “It’s a pebbled texture, so it’s not smooth,” Rank said. Sweeping does two important things to the stone.
“It allows the rock to stop curling, so it puts it on a straighter path, as well as it decreases the resistance on those little pebbles that are on the ice,” Wiedenbeck said. “So you’re actually melting down those pebbles with the friction you’re causing so the rock is also allowed to travel farther down the sheet — not necessarily faster, but farther.”
For the most part, the team members rotate through the positions. Games typically include eight “ends” wherein each team member throws two stones from one end, before switching to the other side of the ice.