Unusual winter sport gaining traction and players
Actually, says Clingan, it was none of that.
It was, however, the uniqueness of the sport that requires players to slide a 40-pound granite stone across ice and try to land it in the center of a target as sweepers with specialized brooms help guide the stone, he says.
“It’s strange, right?” admits Clingan. “It’s a big piece of granite sliding down the ice and that’s strange.”
The other hook about curling is that it doesn’t require a finely sculpted physique to participate. “Curling is something that anybody can do,” says Clingan. “Like, I’m not this incredibly athletic person and to me this is a way for me to go out and have fun and do something active and be outdoors. I don’t have to be in super-fit, 21-year-old shape.”
Once he made the decision to participate in the sport of curling Clingan found the closest place to play was in Columbus. But a couple of years of driving back and forth to Columbus to play got old. “I was kind of sick of the drive,” Clingan says.
That’s when Clingan decided to form a local curling club along with his wife, Stephanie Clingan, and two others in 2010. The organization, called Curl Troy, grew slowly at first. But as more people learned about the group the numbers grew as well.
Nearly 100 people now participate in Curl Troy’s Springfield and Riverscape leagues, says Clingan. The cost to participate is between $20 to $30 per night, depending on the location, he says. The group also conducts training sessions for those who want to learn the sport, says Clingan.
That’s how Jason Hillard learned to play after a friend saw a poster about the curling group. Hillard says he wasn’t sure if his friend had the correct information.
“I think my initial reaction, which is common, is, ‘Is there really curling in southern Ohio?’” Convinced that there was, indeed, curling in southern Ohio Hillard says, “I was like, ‘I have to do this.’ Now I’m hooked.”
Although full members of the group are eligible to compete for the chance to become members of the U.S. Olympic curling team, the majority of people in the Curl Troy organization simply enjoy the socialization that comes with participation.
“The social aspect is the biggest thing,” says Hillard. “Even when it’s organized and competitive it’s about being together and having a good time.”
Clingan says for those who might be interested in participating in curling the group offers several Learn to Curl classes each year.
“We typically run maybe two of those training sessions per year and we can hold 24 to 30 people in each one,” Clingan says. “This year we had some unexpected media attention we didn’t know was coming,” he says.
“Just in December we had 100 people almost. Usually if people find out about us we tend to sell stuff out pretty quickly,” Clingan says.
He says people should go online to the group’s website at curltroy.org for more information about learning to curl or how to join a league.
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