Have you ever wanted to know more about the sport of Curling? Read on, because someone near and dear to me played for over 50 years and he is wealth of knowledge.
I am Warren Wallace and Shannon Dougherty’s “Favourite Father-In-Law,” in fact her only one.
Q: How did you get started curling?
A: I was born in Cartwright, Manitoba, Canada, a village of about 500 people in a farming community. Like most Prairie towns, the curling rink was the center of winter activities where men and women, young and old, played the game. When I was growing up the rink did not have a lock on the door so there was always action going on. I started to curl when I was eight years old and continued playing until I was 65.
Q: Can you briefly explain the game?
A: Curling is a game played on a “sheet” of ice with 4 players on each team. Each team member alternates with his opponent and throws two 42 lb rocks – granite curling stones – the length of the ice to try and score. After all 16 rocks have been thrown that is called an “end”. Most games are 10 ends. Sweeping is an important aspect of the game and is very physically demanding.
DISCOVER CURLING – GETTING STARTED FOR ADULTS
for basic curling instruction by my good friend Earl Morris.
Q: Name some highlights in your Curling Career?
A: I was a reasonable baseball and hockey player but curling was the sport I excelled at. From age 13 – 50 I probably played 3-4 times a week from September to April at a competitive level up to and including the Brier, the Canadian Curling Championship. I also played in Switzerland, with various team members, for 25 consecutive years against the current reigning National Champions at the World Class level.
Q: Can you tell us what your off season and in season training consisted of?
A: These days’ top-level competitive curlers train year round particularly in strength and conditioning but also working with sports psychologists. Leg and upper body strength are essential as is respiratory conditioning. There is a great deal of strain and pressure put on the knees and sweeping rocks, basically in a bent over position, is very demanding on the heart and lungs.
Personally, I ran and played baseball a lot during the summer and in August I would start stretching, working my legs, upper body and core in a serious training regimen. I continued this throughout the winter. Once the curling season started I practiced throwing rocks most days and curled in my curling club 2-3 times a week. We curled in bonspiels (tournaments) most weekends, which could involve playing 2-4 games a day!!!!
Like almost any sport, curling requires a good balanced stance, a fluid delivery of the rock, and a smooth follow-through. The release of the rock and rotation of its handle must be firm and accurate. The curling stone delivery is not dissimilar to the golf swing where there is no margin of error for a hook or a slice. Not surprisingly many of Canada’s top curlers are excellent golfers and include a number of professionals such as Russ Howard and Wayne Middaugh.
Q: Do you have any advice for beginners?
A: My advice to those who want to take up the “Roaring Game” is to get in shape. Work particularly hard on your legs and upper body and do a lot of stretching before attempting to throw the rock as you can seriously damage your joints and back. Balance is important so work on that as well.
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
A: Curling is a wonderful sport for most age groups. It’s very social and can be played at several levels of competency. Keep in mind that individuals must be in good shape to attempt the game or injury is likely – but hey – that’s the same for every sport or even daily life.
So get off your duff and get in shape for whatever you want to do.
A HUGE thank you to my FFIL (Favourite Father-In-Law) for sharing about his world of curling. I ended up having a great workout using a set of curling rocks. Push Ups, Squats, Deadlifts, Planks and Curling Rock Swings. Yes, I was VERY sore the next day.
I had the pleasure of working with Gene Lower, from Slingshot Photography www.getmyshot.com to capture some action shots for an upcoming project. My partner in crime, Barbie Thomas with www.fitnessunarmed.com joined me for a few fun fitness shots. It was an action packed 90 minutes of SPORTS. Just what I love!