CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Winter Olympics may be over, but curling fever in the United States is just heating up.
Interest in the sport has never been higher after the Americans won the country's first-ever gold medal in men's curling during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea.
The Cleveland Skating Club has noticed an increase in appeal towards curling. The club recently hosted a public event aimed at introducing people to the sport and giving them the opportunity to try it out.
"That's why these people are here," says Roy Hulme, Cleveland Skating Club curler. "We have 40 people tonight who are trying it for the first time, and they're doing it because they saw it on the Olympics."
Still not completely sure how curling is played? It's actually quite simple.
Curling is similar to shuffleboard, except it's played on ice using stones that weigh in excess of 40 pounds.
Two teams of four compete by delivering eight stones each closest to the "button" in the "house," or the center of the target, on the opposite side of the ice.
Depending on ability, the team member sliding the stone can actually curl the stone inward or outward heading towards the house. The other teammates sweep vigorously in front of the sliding stone when needed, which prevents the stone from slowing down.
Points are awarded to the team with the stone closest to the button at the end of each end.
The stones are mined out of granite from an island in Scotland. The granite has a density and impact resistance that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Curlers do wear special shoes. One shoe is covered in Teflon to slide on the ice while the other shoe is covered with a gripped-surface for safe running and walking on the ice.
Perhaps the best thing about leisurely curling is an unwritten rule: The losing team must stack the brooms and buy the winners the first round of drinks.
The Cleveland Skating Club, located on Kemper Road in Shaker Heights, is home to a regular curling league that consists of over 40 members who play several nights a week. Several of the members also compete internationally. A team from the Cleveland Skating Club recently reached the finals in a tournament in Canada.
The facility, which boasts five curling sheets of arena ice, hosts "learn to curl" events like the one that took place on March 4.
During the event, experienced curlers showed the participants the important techniques including a proper forward push, how to turn and release the stone, and the correct way to sweep the ice in front of the stone's path.
"We've invited the public to come in and experience curling," says Cleveland Skating Club curling coach Annie Hubbard. "We have a membership now that we're offering for the public to come enjoy our curling rink."
Equipment is provided by the club.
The next community curling event is scheduled for March 16, but slots fill up fast!
"Come try curling, it's a great sport," added Hubbard.