As discussed here, San Francisco 49ers‘ All-Star tight-end Vernon Davis is not only an avid curling fan, but also the U.S. National Curling Teams’ honorary captain and an ambassador of the game. In honor of the NFL’s best tight-end, here is a breakdown of curling–in this writers’ opinion the best sport in the Winter Olympiad:
The game all comes down to a simple goal: get as many of your eight stones as possible closer to the button–the center of the “house,” or thing that looks like a target–than any of your opponent’s eight in a given “end”–what a round is called–before repeating the process for ten ends. The team with the highest score at the end of ten ends wins. In the case of a tie additional ends will be used to break the tie. If, however, no stones are in the house at the conclusion of an end, no points are awarded. This is called a “blank end.”
Starting to get the hang of it? Not yet? Read on!
The captain of a team is typically the “skipper.” He is the guy down on a knee sliding across the ice and performing the “delivery” of the stone–also called the “rock”–that is slid across the ice towards the house on the other end. The “sweepers” are then tasked with manipulating the stone’s path across the ice. The ice itself is perfectly flat. Thus, the sweeping removes friction and allows the team to speed up the stone’s speed, slow it down, or even curl it around–or into–a stone already out on the ice.
I hope this gives you a little taste of curling and helps you understand it at some level. If you want a more in-depth description of the game, its rules, and its history and culture, you can visit the Wikipedia page here. I encourage you to watch curling this Olympics. Its a great sport, and Vernon Davis wants you to watch it too.