This I Believe
I believe in curling, the sport of kings. Curling is a centuries old sport in which teams of four compete on ice to test physical and mental performance. The point of curling can best be described as a mix between bocce ball and shuffleboard. Each team has eight stones; each stone is thrown in an alternating fashion with the other team. After all stones have been thrown the closest stone to the center of a 12ft target, called the house, is given a point. The closer team scores as many stones as it has closer then its opponent, up to a maximum of eight per end; an “end” is like an inning in baseball.
Curling is a sport of honor; fouls are not called by the other team. Most curlers, true curlers, would rather call a penalty on themselves and lose the game rather than win by letting it slide. The officials don’t look for penalties outright; they are simply there to answer any questions that either team may have. This sense of honor is what binds all curlers together into something, something that will carry through the person for their entire life. Most sports today seek to achieve a winning result through whatever means necessary, they give no extra motivation towards fair play or sportsmanship.
I believe curling brings people together. The atmosphere at the curling club is like no other; it is an atmosphere where everyone is equal and there is always something to talk about. Sure the competitive spirit is alive and well but it is left on the ice. The hooting and hollering of the fans behind the glass cheering on their favorite teams as they play rings through the heart of everyone as the game comes to an end. The thrill of a competition and the excitement of a game coming down to the final shot is the most rewarding part. After the game the losing team is bought a round of drinks by the winning team and both teams sit down to discuss whatever is on their minds. Curlers can play in a single bonspiel, or tournament, and leave with dozens of new friends. The curling world is still small enough that you can know everyone.
Curling allows people of all ages to become involved in something fun and energetic. The youngest curlers can be as small as the 42lb rock they are pushing, where the oldest ones can be your grandpa. The strange thing about curling is that the older a curler is, traditionally the better they can be. The younger, and albeit more athletic, can usually physically withstand the pressures of a game, but the older athletes have the mental aspect and strategy of the game down to a mere afterthought. Generations of curlers can be on the same ice at one time, competing against one another. It is not uncommon to see a grandfather, son, and grandson playing on opposing teams.
I have been an avid curler for six years now. I have competed in many different levels of competition. I’ve played the Moscow team in the Moscow-Utah games; I’ve played in junior nationals representing team Utah. I’ve also traveled to Canada many times to represent Utah is both bonspiels, and the Pacific International Cup. This extensive curling background has caused me to develop a sense of fair play that is present through every aspect of my life.
I believe that if more people curled there would be fewer problems in the world. More people would develop a higher sense of honor and moral responsibility and establish relationships with others that are truly meaningful. The popularity of the sport of curling is steadily on the rise in the United States, so if you get a chance go throw some stones.
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