Curling has home in Monroe

                    
                                                                               

Teams compete at the Alpine Curling Club in Monroe, Wis. on Thursday..

By Jeremy Anders
The Journal-Standard
Posted Feb 27, 2010 @ 09:49 PM

Curling is a sport that is nationally known for two weeks every four years during the Winter Olympics.
But that’s not true at the Alpine Curling Club in Monroe, where members curl nightly indoors in leagues, tournaments and just for fun.
Members spoke of the cameraderie that comes from curling together and said that it was something that isn’t hard to pick up.
“I’m not in great athletic shape, but it’s a chance to get out and get some exercise,” Steve Johnson said. “You don’t have to be a great athlete to have a little bit of success, if you have a little bit of coordination you can do alright. That makes it fun.”
Bob Rufi, the icemaker at the Alpine Curling Club, said he enjoys the gentlemanly nature of the sport. There is no trash talking or bad blood, and honesty on the ice is required, not encouraged.
“It’s the idea that if you foul a rock, you say ‘I fouled the rock’ and you take it off,” Rufi said.
Curling is a game played in 10 ends, similar to innings in baseball, with the goal being to get one of your team’s stones closest to the center of a target area at the other end of the ice to score a point. If a team has more than one stone closer to the center than any of the other team’s stone, it earns that many points for the end. The stone is thrown by sliding across the ice and releasing it. Putting spin on the stone as it is released is what makes it curl (curve) as it moves down the ice.
A curling team consists of three people led by a skip (captain) and two others. Players alternate throwing, and everybody throws in each end. The two players not throwing move with the rock as it slides down the ice and sweep the ice in front of it if the player throwing wants them to.
Sweeping makes the rock move faster and curl less by melting a tiny layer of ice and letting the stone glide on a small layer of water.
One of the things curlers enjoy most about the game itself is the strategy involved. Players don’t simply try to throw every stone at the center of the target, they set up “guards” that are in front of it designed to prevent the other team from knocking away a stone near the center, and teams often have to try to curl a stone through a small hole between two guards to get it near the center and score.
“It’s always neat to see how the ends take shape because it can go so many different ways,” curler Todd Schluesche said. “You think you can have a really good end and then one shot can really turn it around.”
Curlers can curl at Alpine Curling Club in Monroe, where a yearly membership fee is charged and they can also go to tournaments across the state or country.
“I’m pretty competitive so I like going to tournaments, going to in-house ones tournaments and out of town ones,” curler Scott Wild said. “It’s just something to kill time during the winter, it’s better than staying home and doing nothing.”

Copyright 2010 The Journal-Standard.

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