OBJECTIVE OF CURLING: Score points by making the granite rock land closer to the center of the house than the other team.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 8 players, 4 on each team
MATERIALS: 2 curling brooms per team, 8 curling rocks per team
TYPE OF GAME: Sport
OVERVIEW OF CURLING
Curling may seem strange, with all the sweeping, ice sliding, and bowling. But it is one of the most strategic winter Olympic sports. It is overshadowed by skiing, ice hockey, and figure skating, but it has recently gained popularity.
Curling is played on a long patch of pebbled ice called the “sheet.” The sheet is around 15 feet wide and 145 feet long and is covered in frozen water droplets called pebbles. A target lies on each end of the sheet called the “house.” There are approximately 114 feet between the center points of both houses.
There is a center line going vertically across the sheet and a hog line on each side of the sheet located 21 feet from the center of the house. A tee line also goes directly through the center of the houses.
There are two roles on each team that players will alternate. These roles are either throwing the rocks or sweeping in front of the rocks. Generally, all four players on a team will have a chance to throw at least one rock per end.
Curling matches are divided into ten ends. Each end consists of both teams throwing eight rocks towards the house from the other end of the sheet. And when one end is over, the teams aim at the house on the opposite side of the sheet.
During an end, players on a team will alternate throwing a rock at the house. The goal is to make the rock land as close as possible to the center of the house. There are many different strategic approaches to throwing the rock, such as knocking the opposing team’s rock out of the way, blocking the house with their rock, or simply trying to make the rock land in the center of the house.
The most iconic thing about curling is most definitely the sweeping. Players can control the rock’s speed and movement by sweeping the ice. Because of the pebbled surface, the sweeping affects the movement of the rock. One to three players can sweep the ice simultaneously to slow the rock or to change its direction slightly.
Only one team gets to score during each end. The team with the stone closest to the center (button) of the house gets one point. The winning team also gets additional points for each rock in the house and closer to the “button” than the opposing team’s closest rock. No team scores if none of the rocks are in the house.
The hammer is the final throw of each end. This throw is advantageous because it allows the team to make the final move to score. When a team wins an end, the other team gets the hammer in the next end. In other words, the team that doesn’t score any points in one end gets the hammer in the next end. The only exception is if no teams score, in which the team that had the hammer in the last end retains it.
END OF GAME
After ten ends are played, the team with the highest overall score wins. Curling matches can never end in a tie, so if the game is tied after ten ends, the teams will continue playing more ends until one team has scored more points.