Volume 12, Number 70, 2009

A Day In The Life Of A Superman
by Donald Lugers

Throwing the h a m m e r , getting over the hogline, sweeping rocks - what kind of game uses terms like this? If you have never played the game of curling (and I don’t mean your hair), you have probably never heard these words. Curling consists of two teams of four people. The two teams slide “rocks” over an ice surface toward a target circle. The players use brooms to help
the rocks glide. The team that gets its rocks closest to the centre of the target wins. But what do some of these crazy terms mean?

Throw the Hammer and score! (hopefully)

Throwing the hammer means having last rock, which is an advantage. The four players on both teams alternate throwing two rocks each. The skip, or captain, of the team with last rock has the chance to pick up a point or points for his team, or rink. If the rink with the last rock does not score, the other team steals the points they earn. The rink that scores throws the first rock
on the next end.

Get the rock over the hogline

The hogline is a line at each end of the ice. Arock must cross this line, but not go across the back line behind the house to stay in play. If a curler does not let his rock go before the hog line, the rock is disqualified. At professional tournaments, there is an
electronic chip in the handle of the rock that will signal to officials if the rock has passed the hogline. Before this technology, the official needed an eagle eye.

Sweep, sweep (that rock) hard, HARD

You get to sweep a rock when you are not the person throwing it. The skip does not sweep rocks because he is the captain and needs to hold the broom to place the shots and judge if a rock coming down the ice needs sweeping. If you hear your skip calling for you to sweep a rock hard, he wants you to really put all your strength into it. That rock needs help! Maybe it’s not going to get over the hogline. Uh-oh.

Throw a rock into the house

This is one time when throwing a rock into a house is a good thing! Any other time you might get chased down the street by your neighbour. The house is the target. There is one at each end of the ice. It consists of three circles with a total diameter of 12 feet. The centre of the circle is called the button. The rock closest to the button scores a point.

So now that you know some curling terms, why not join a rink and see how much fun the game really is. You never know when you might get to sweep (hard) the hammer!

Memory Quiz

Here’s a short quiz to see how many curling terms you can remember.

1. The hammer is the:
a) last rock of the end
b) something your dad threw the last time he hit his thumb with it
c) a large SUV

2. The house consists of:
a) straw
b) sticks
c) three circles with a diameter of twelve feet

3. The hogline is:
a) where this little pig went to market
b) the line the rock must cross to stay in play
c) the name of the Three Little Pigs’ favourite line dance