Wanna try the quirky sport of curling? On February 12, Mohawk Valley residents can do just that at the Utica Curling Club's open house event.

Established in 1968, Utica boasts one of the oldest curling clubs in the nation. Its current location on Clark Mills Road in Whitestown is the largest curling facility in the eastern U.S. 

It’s a simple enough sport to grasp, and it has elements of bocce and shuffleboard. In simplest terms, teams of four throw curling stones (aka "rocks") down the ice. The team that gets their rocks closest to the “house” (a large target) will score points. The team with the most points after each round (called “ends”) wins.

Curling Action
wfnc_educ via TSM

The frantic sweeping by other players helps warm the ice and alters the rock's path. A subtle rotation of the wrist makes the stone "curl" to the left or right, thus making it possible to go around the other rocks. It's sometimes called “chess on ice” due to the game’s heavy strategic element. 

Curling is harder than it looks -- I speak from experience. I tried the open house a few years ago and it took a while just to get my bearings out there. That being said, it is a very accessible game and can be tried by people of all ages and physical abilities.

Curlers also like to drink. This cannot be overstated. They have a full bar on site for pre-and-post game beers, and it's actually customary for the winning team to buy drinks for the losing team. In curling, it pays to lose.

Photo by Des Récits on Unsplash
Photo by Des Récits on Unsplash

For more info on the open house or joining a curling league, visit their Facebook page.

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