I couldn’t fall asleep last night, so I would flick on the TV every once in a while to see what all was on, and I started watching Olympic curling on USA. The United States was playing Norway. Now, I’m by no means a curling enthusiast, but it was interesting enough, and kinda neat to watch, so I left it on for a while. But then something happened that I did not understand at all, and it really confused me. I’ve never formally researched the rules of curling, but after watching for a few seconds the rules seem pretty straight-forward: slide those stone dealies toward a circle, and the closest to the circle gets a point… and if you have the 2 closest you get two, 3 for 3, etc.. Oh, and you prolly have to be touching part of the circle for it to count at all. Everything else was just frosting: scrub the ice with crazy scrubber sticks to keep that stone sliding, knock others out of the way, yada yada.. It’s just frozen Bocce with some housecleaning practice thrown in.. I get it… Well, there were some rules and strategy that I didn’t get.. so here are the simplified rules to curling:

First, here is the court:

Close Up




  1. Hack. (It’s the little rubber(?) foot blocks that the slider dude uses to start up his sliding dealie.)
  2. Footline.
  3. Backline.
  4. Teeline.
  5. Hogline.
  6. Centerline.

So, the slider guy starts at the Hack, and has to let go by the Hogline, and the scrubbers can scrub or not scrub, and lead the stone to the circle. They go back and forth, knocking the opponets out fo the scoring circle, and setting up their own in a way to block the opponents stones. At the end, the closest to the center while still within the circle scores points. Then the team that scored last goes first, and the cycle continues. Like I said: Just like icy bocce.

So… if you feel like really reading the real rules you can go here. The thing that confused me was this: It was the Americans turn to slide, and they were on their last stone (Norway had already thrown their last one). The whole board was open (nothing on teh circle at all, and no blockers, as far as I can recall). The Americans purposefully just slide the thing right past the circle, and both teams got 0 points for the “round.” So… I read about it and found out why.. but I figured I’d ask the question: Who knows why they did that?

3 thoughts on “Curling

  1. There is an actual Curling Club here (with actual building and official style markings!). I haven’t visited yet, but it looks kind of interesting. Although I’d say it’s closer to shuffleboard than bocce ball.

  2. I’ve always been somewhat fascinated / interested in curling and watched it a little bit growing up on the CBC. However I don’t really know the rules…

    My guess is that by scoring the Americans would thus go last which would mess up their strategy somehow. Maybe they’d prefer to go second and try to get a score greater than 1 ( what they currently had )?

    Also was this explained on the television?

  3. Well done, Jplant.

    The reason given (on a website I read, not TV.. TV just stated it as a fact as though everyone knew why they were doing it… Odds are it was explained earlier in the match or something) was that the US wanted to continue to throw second, so they’d have last throw/slide. That way on their last one, they could potentially knock out Norway’s stone, and maybe score 2 (or 3.. who knows). The plan paid off, as the next round, they did indeed score multiple points, and won shortly there after.

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