Every four years, America remembers the sport of curling as it takes the world stage at the Winter Olympics.
Curling is especially gaining popularity among Latin American athletes, as countries like Mexico form competitive teams for the first time. At the San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club’s “Curliseum,” people are making their sports dreams come true. LA Times staff writer Kevin Baxter and Mexican national curling team member Adriana Camarena joined Lisa McRee on “LA Times Today.”
Baxter explained the sport of curling, which is often misunderstood.
“The object of the game is to take a 44-pound granite stone, push it down a 146-foot-long piece of ice and try to land it in the middle of a circle. The closer you get to the middle of the target, the more points you get. It’s kind of a combination of shuffleboard and light housekeeping because there is a competitor that runs ahead of the stone with a broom to clear the ice, to allow the granite stone to slide a little bit further,” Baxter explained.
Camarena competes for the Mexican national curling team. She found the curling community when she moved to San Francisco. When she’s on the ice, Camarena said, nothing compares.
“It is a delicious feeling to go out into the icehouse, take that gripper off, get in the hack, take that first slide and then the soundscape begins. There’s this gravelly noise that your foot is making as you slide. And it’s called the roaring game for a reason. It is the sound of the stone on the ice and the sweeping and the teamwork and the wishes of good curling really bring it all in,” Camarena shared.
Baxter spoke with Olympic curler Tyler George, who has worked with Camarena to bring more diversity to the sport. One way the San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club is expanding access is by bringing their training to other clubs.
“We have the Southern California Curling Center here in Vernon... The Vernon facility is the home of the Mexican national team. They’re trying to build a facility outside Mexico City, but that’s where the Mexican national team holds its training camps... What they want is they want 100 people and then 200 people, then 300 people, the grassroots people coming in to learn about the sport,” Baxter said.
Camarena shared her hopes for curling’s future.
“What I hope for curling is that people will continue to feel welcome, come into our facilities, but also that the expansion of curling will allow both recreational and competitive curlers to find the spaces they need to make their curling dream come true. If you want to learn, all you got to do is hop on our website, find a Learn to Curl, and sign up,” Camarena said.
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