Commentary

Granados: Curling club hits the ice

ColumnistJanuary 11, 2014 

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The Winter Olympics are just around the corner, and every time they bless our little (and sometimes huge) television screens, there is a resurgence of interest in one particular sport. For some of you, like me, it may be a stupid sport. But pay a little more attention, try it out, and maybe you’ll fall in love. What am I talking about? Oh boy. It’s curling.

The Triangle Curling Club is capitalizing on the craze. The club is stationed out at The Factory Ice House Ice Skating Rink in Wake Forest, though it’ll be moving to its own digs shortly. In the meantime, its members areramping up for the Olympics.

“We’re going to do several learn-to-curl events,” said Joe Mecca, spokesman for the club. “There is always a huge spike in interest around the Olympics.”

Curling is the game where players with brooms brush the ground in front of what looks like a gigantic hockey puck. The puck is called a “rock,” and it can weigh 43 pounds. The players push the rock toward a “house,” a circular target marked at the end of a track.

The club has a league where anyone, amateur to experienced enthusiast, can come try their hand at curling. It also has special events where people can come and learn more about the game.

Navigate learning curve

Mecca learned about curling after the 2006 Olympics. He saw the sport on television and wanted to know what was going on. But it’s not that easy to find out for yourself.

“It’s not something you can just go and try. You have to go someplace that actually has it,” Mecca said. “And it’s a little unique. It’s not like you can go to the local playground.”

He joined the club, becoming its official spokesperson when the members found out he had a PR background.

He said it’s a fun sport because it’s not terribly difficult. But that depends on how good you plan to get.

“The learning curve on it, you can get up to speed in our level league fairly quickly,” Mecca said. “Then it takes 30 years to get good at it.”

I asked Mecca why he thought the sport catches on in popularity around Olympic time. He said that in contrast to many other winter sports, curling lasts a while.

“It’s a nice visual sport. There’s not a ton of action. It’s not fast paced to the point that you can’t keep up,” he said. “And at the same time, a game lasts a little while so you can see the back and forth of it.”

Sport migrates south

Naturally, curling is a game you see more often in the North where it’s colder. But as Northerners uproot themselves and come to our more balmy climes, they bring the sport with them. The Triangle Curling Club is capitalizing on that interest.

The club is getting its own building in Durham. A combination of personal contributions and financing will purchase the space, and Mecca is fairly confident that membership dues will be able to clear the debt.

He said that given what members pay now in ice time and other fees – combined with their ability to offer more options for prospective curlers in a dedicated building – the move makes financial sense.

“We know that once we have our own facility, we’ll be able to add a lot of league time where we can plug people in,” he said.

The club is also thinking about putting together a club league for colleges, a juniors league, and who knows what else? With interest spiking, there could be no end to the opportunities.

I actually tried curling a few years back. It’s a patient man’s game, I think – and I’m not a patient man. I also just wasn’t that good. Don’t like the cold. Dislike ice. Etc, etc. But I’m a big baby. For those of you with a little more fortitude and an abiding interest in the Winter Olympics, give it a shot. Check out http://www.trianglecurling.com/ and find out when you can learn to curl.

Alex Granados writes about people, places and traditions in North Raleigh and beyond. Contact him at agranadoster@gmail.com.

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