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From the opening handshakes and "good curling" wishes to the "good game" handshakes and socializing after the game, curling is one great pastime. It involves sportsmanship, teamwork, skill, endurance, and players of all ages. The sport of curling excludes no one. Around the world, women, men, and children of all different skill levels and abilities take part.

In Canada, as far as winter sports go, curling is as popular as ice hockey.  Canadian curling is a great game for those who are interested in a sport like chess on ice, rather than the body contact of ice hockey.  Curling also has a social component where teams indulge in a friendly beer or glass of wine after the game.  It is a great sport for meeting new people and having conversations with different folk.  During the Canadian summer, many curlers take up the sport of golf or baseball. 

The game of curling is played using carefully crafted stones thrown along a sheet of ice. The ice is carefully cleaned and pebbled before every game. Four players on a team hold designated positions - lead, second, third, and skip. Players on each team take turns sliding out of the hack and throwing rocks down the ice towards the house. The skip stands in the house and calls the shots. One player throws a rock while two others on the team follow it down the ice using a broom to sweep in front of the rock, if it needs it. The sweeping can carry a rock further, and cause it to curl more or less.

When a player is sliding out of the hack, he must release the rock before he reaches the hog line. If a draw is called, the player slides out of the hack more gently and releases the stone with less force. If a takeout is called, the player slides out of the hack with more force and releases the stone with greater weight. Guards are rocks that are placed in front of the house, in the guard zone, blocking the path to the rocks in the house.

When all of the rocks have been thrown in one direction, an end has been played. The third of the scoring team marks her points on a large scoreboard for all to see. One complete game usually consists of eight or ten ends.

In curling rinks around the world, leagues have their own competitions. There are mens nights, ladies leagues, childrens Sunday afternoon play, business leagues and international play. Teams can also play in bonspiels in other curling rinks for prizes and a great social time. Bonspiels most often involve games Friday afternoon and evening, all day and evening Saturday, and games and final play on Sunday. Some teams leave a bonspiel with prizes, but most leave with great memories and new friends.


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