Curling is an ice sport that originated in Scotland in the 16th century. It is played by teams who take turns sliding 42 pound rocks at a target at the opposite end of a sheet of ice. As the rock travels down the ice, team members use brooms to sweep the path in front of the rock to control its speed and direction. Besides the physical benefits derived from delivering the rock and sweeping it, curling offers a mental workout. The strategies employed to outwit the other team have led to curling being called “chess on ice”.
How the game is played
Two teams of four players are each equipped with eight stones. The circular stones are polished granite and weigh about 42 pounds and have a handle on the top. Alternating with a player from the other team, each team member takes up a position in a foothold (the "hack") at one end of the ice and propels a stone to the opposite end of the ice sheet. The team captain, or "skip," directs the game strategy by indicating to the delivering player where the stone should lie when it stops moving. The other two players assist by sweeping with brooms in front of the stone in order to clean the ice and warm it so that the stone travels further.
The game is called curling because, when releasing the stone, the player turns the handle about 1/4 turn clockwise or counterclockwise (depending upon the desired direction of the curl). This causes the stone to travel in a curved trajectory down the ice, rather than in a straight line. The curling motion gives greater control of the rock and allows it to be positioned behind other stones.
After all 16 stones have been delivered (called an "end"), the team with one or more stones sitting closer to the button than any of the opposing team’s stones wins the end, with each of those stones counting for one point. A typical game is 8 or 10 ends long, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours of play.