"I like to call it a game of chess on ice." - Casper Curling Club Skip Dean Boril
Curling first appeared in the inaugural Winter Olympics in 1924, but was not officially added to the program by the International Olympic committee until the 1998 Nagano games. Although, the sport did appear in several Olympics before 1998, as a demonstration sport as a way to promote it.
Casper Curling Club Skip Dean Boril says, "I like to call it a game of chess on ice because you position stones in a certain position to block your opponent from scoring or make it to your advantage to score points, so it's all positioning of your stones."
Curling is played with 4 players on each team and each player on the team gets to curt 2 stones with the skip being the last thrower. The objective is quite simple. "We play an 8 end game here in league play. The Olympians will play a ten end game. Whoever scores the most points after 8 ends is the winner," Boril said.
There are three types of shots players can perform; draws, which are intended to give the team points, takeaways, are used for doing exactly that: knocking stones out of the 12-foot circle, and finally guards.
"As long as the stone is not touching that house in the front and crosses the hog line, they are not to be removed from play. So your opponent cannot hit that stone out of play. So what that does is it creates some guards in the front, it makes it a more interesting game," Boril said.
Although, it may look easy, it can take years to master. "It's usually the skip who can read the ice the fastest has the advantage," Boril said.
Curler Bill Zeiders agrees. "It's almost like reading a green on golf, but you can't see it. So you can only see what the stones do, so you have to react to how the stones are falling one way or another."
So, why is it called curling? "On the bottom of the stone there’s only a thin ring around the bottom that is actually touching the ice. So you have to put a turn on it to get it whichever curl you’re looking for," Zeiders said.