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Other Terriers on Ice

Olympics or no, the BU Curling Club slides along

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In the video above, the BU Curling Club takes to the ice at Broomstones Curling Club in Wayland, Mass., for a Friday afternoon practice. Photos by Jill Foley (COM’10)

When the BU Curling Club got its start in 2006, “four or five of us would rent a car and come out here every Friday and just slide down the ice,” says club vice president Devina Dalmia (CAS’10). She stands outside Broomstones Curling Club, a cathedral-shaped arena hidden in the woods of Wayland, Mass., 20 minutes by bus from Boston, where the group holds weekly practices. “We would train for a couple of hours and we’d all come back happy.

“Now we have an entire bus.”

The mood on the school bus bringing curlers from BU, Harvard, and MIT for the afternoon had been raucous, its ranks swelled with a few newcomers intrigued by Olympic curling. “It seemed like as good a time as any to try it,” said one first-timer as he boarded.

For months, it seemed that nothing could supplant universal health care as Canada’s most baffling, intriguing, and controversial export. Then came Olympic curling.

At BU, however, curling remains a niche interest for a small but dedicated group, who would like to remind the University that NCAA hockey players aren’t the only Terriers on ice.

“Anyone can join at any time,” Dalmia says, “as long as you have warm clothes.”

“Curling’s popularity has definitely increased,” says 20-year Broomstones member Herb Kupchik, a retired School of Medicine professor, who oversees the BU group’s practice times. “But a lot of kids keep growing up into the sport. They get wrapped up in it.”

Many misconceptions linger about curling, the second most famous sport (after golf) to come from Scotland — for instance, that the brooms really are brooms (they aren’t), or that the stones used really aren’t stones (they are, all 42 pounds of them). With curling added as an official Olympic sport only in 1998, Americans haven’t had much chance to appreciate the game’s finer points. While it’s true that curling requires no great feats of athleticism, there’s a lot more to the game than you see watching a match on television, says Kellie Borrero (SMG’11), the BU club’s president.

“Curling is a mix of a lot of different sports,” Borrero says. “You have the scoring aspect, which is pretty similar to bocce. In terms of the mental aspect, it’s similar to chess; there’s a lot of strategy involved. And it’s very similar to pool or billiards — you have to know your angles.”

The BU curlers are gearing up for “Curlcago,” the College Curling USA national games, being held in Chicago March 12 through 14. The club is taking two teams and meeting up with a BU alumni team as well. And while one BU player — founding member Monica Walker (CAS’09) — has gone on to curl professionally, the club prefers to emphasize camaraderie, fun, and the game’s novelty.

“It’s the kind of thing you can only do in college,” says curler Lisi Erskine (CGS’10) with a laugh.

Learn more about the BU Curling Club here or e-mail curling@bu.edu. New members can join at any time; practice and competition fees are $25 per semester.

Broomstones Curling Club, 138 Rice Rd., Wayland, Mass., will hold an open house on Sunday, March 7, from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for curlers 13 and older and free for children ages 8 to 12. More information is available here or by calling 508-358-2412.

Katie Koch can be reached at katieleekoch@gmail.com; follow her on Twitter at @katieleekoch. Edward A. Brown can be reached at ebrown@bu.edu; follow him on Twitter at @ned_butoday.

5 Comments

5 Comments on Other Terriers on Ice

  • Anonymous on 02.25.2010 at 10:21 am

    Curlicious

    Great video, but I’m sorry, I agree with Kellie’s mom that it’s like watching paint drying. How is it a sport? They basically bowl a ball on the ice, and then rub the ice so it goes a little faster. Bizarre.

  • Komrade on 02.25.2010 at 3:25 pm

    No more odd than Golf, or Polo to me. Not my cup of tea though, I prefer mil-sims.

  • Ellie on 02.25.2010 at 5:02 pm

    Bowling on ice

    A spectator sport? Perhaps not. But if it’s like bowling (which is fun) on ice (which is more fun), that sounds like a riot.

  • Jdchambo on 02.25.2010 at 6:29 pm

    Why Curling IS a sport

    Re: Curlicious.

    As Kellie said, her mom also doesn’t really know anything about the sport when she compared it to watching paint dry. Curling is a highly strategic game: it requires a lot of brain power in order to plan shots so that they end up where they will be most useful, and it takes impeccable timing to know when and how long to sweep the path ahead of the stone for. It also takes a lot of skill to be able to balance while sliding the stone out for delivery. ESPECIALLY when the stone needs to be sent down at high velocities in order to knock other stones out of play. And sweeping is not just rubbing the ice – the goal is to melt the top layer of the pebble in order get the stone to slide quicker, straighter, and further, which takes a lot of muscle work. I was at College Nationals last year, and played 4 8-end games in less than 48 hours. By the very end, I felt like my arms were going to fall off.

    So, I would recommend that you reserve judgment prior to trying the sport once. You may still hold the opinion that it is bizarre, but I highly doubt that you will think that it is not a sport afterward.

  • Anonymous on 02.26.2010 at 10:18 pm

    Fun

    This is a really fun video. These kids are clearly enjoying themselves, I don’t understand why people have to hate on curling! GO BU CURLING TEAM!

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