Chess on Ice: Curling at Black Swamp

The Black Swamp Curling Center has been getting emails, inquiries and registrations for clinics non-stop, according to marketing and membership coordinator, Angie Jones.

Since opening in February of 2017, curling facility in Bowling Green has been a hotspot for Olympic enthusiasts.

Jones says, “we’re busy full time and it’s really incredible because we’re a membership of about 100 people right now and we’re purely volunteer based.”

Operating from October to April, the seasonal facility offers learn-to-curl clinics for anyone interested in trying the sport. All skill levels are equally represented on the ice.

Frank Lanno is a self-proclaimed beginner on the ice.

Meanwhile, curler Scott Helle says, it doesn’t matter if you’re old or young, fast or slow or tall or short, none of that matters.”

Members all agree; after 1 year in service, the facility was built on a lot of enthusiasm for the sport.

While curling may take people out of their comfort zone, there’s one aspect of the sport that tends to get everyone on board.

Scott Helle says it best: “Almost as big of a part as the curling is what happens after the game. The winning team buys the first round of drinks for the losing team to make up for any unfriendliness that might exist after the game and you just talk for a while.”

With a comfortable warm-room, it’s easy to regain feeling in your fingers and toes with a drink at the Black Swamp’s 9th End bar.

Comradery is important when it comes to the game of curling. The first section of the United States Curling Association rule book, called the ‘Spirit of Curling’ says, "Curlers play to win but never to humble their opponents. While the main objective of the game is to determine the relative skill of the players, the spirit of the game demands good sportsmanship… and honorable conduct."

Beginner, Frank Lanno says, “[curling] is a challenge, but I think the community they have [at the Black Swamp Curling Center] makes it really inviting to try something new.”

A league game typically takes around 2 hours and consists of 8 back-and-forths across the ice known as ‘ends’.

From February 9th until March 3rd the Black Swamp Curling Center will suspend league play and host multiple clinics each day in honor of the Winter Olympics. Instructors expect to teach between 8-hundred and one-thousand people this season.

13 different beers will be available at the 9th End representing all of the countries competing in curling during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.

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