January 10, 2011

Curling in South Haven

Most people remember curling from the sport's 1998 winter Olympics debut, with all the precision and formality required of an Olympic event.  In South Haven, the emphasis is more on participation and fun.  Rink manager Spencer Hodgeman purchased the curling stones at the start of the winter season as well as brooms, hacks and Teflon sliders.

The curling stones are made of granite and weigh forty pounds each.  The hack, or starting block, is frozen to the ice to provide a launching point for the person 'throwing' the stone.  A slider shoe is needed for the thrower, which is attached with simple elastic to one's boot or shoe.  (Several of the local players compare the surface of the slider shoe to the scene of "Christmas Vacation" when Chevy Chase proceeds down the sledding hill on a saucer.)

The curling sessions are open to anyone who would like to give the sport a try, and currently there are two sessions available each week.  Generally the first half hour is spent with practice throws and introducing the sport to new participants.  Occasionally a pick-up game ensues, but there is always space set aside for practice.

The public is invited on Tuesday evenings beginning at 7 pm and on Saturday mornings at 10:30 am.  There is a small participation fee, and all are welcome to watch or throw a stone.

If you're headed to South Haven, ask innkeeper Amanda at the Victoria Resort B&B about curling.  She and her husband embarrass themselves thoroughly on the ice each week.  (But it sure is fun!)