Frequent curlers may already be aware that the Pincher Creek Curling Club has introduced sturling, but the club would like folks to know that it’s a great way for newcomers to be introduced to the sport, and is encouraging people to come and give it a try.
Sturling is a kind of curling that involves two player teams, and allows stick use. It’s also a lot more beginner friendly than regular curling.
Pincher Creek Curling Club’s Garry Cleland said since the club began supporting sturling, he’s been seeing involvement from demographics that normally wouldn’t be able to participate in this winter ice venue.
“For seniors , who don’t want to be out on the ice from two to two-and-a-half hours, a one hour sport is an excellent game for them. Same will be found with kids—kids like to keep real active and busy throwing rocks,” said Cleland.
Cleland He states that he had taken on the Student Program this year on behalf of the Sturling Group to allow Lana Zoratti to move on to the Junior Program that Glenda Kettles had been mentoring for a good number of years.
Cleland said challenges involved with teaching curling to students is that there’s not enough time to teach them to properly slide, resulting in a population of students who lose interest in participating.
He said the introduction of sturling has seen those student groups become more interested and appreciative and active of the game.
“I curled in this rink as a school kid, we came out of the hack, slid all the way to the hog line, and we did all the things because most of us were somewhat athletic and interested in the sport, but a number of the class weren’t,” said Cleland.
“When it came time to slide and do these other things, they pulled back from the sport. Now we have no one sitting out, because whether you’re interested in it or not, the learning curve is maybe 20 to 30 minutes for stick, whereas with sliding there’s up to five hours involved in learning how to do it properly,” he said.
He said the difference in involvement by students is noticeable since sturling was introduced this year.
“In our classes this year, all of the kids stayed participating and in the game. As time progressed we integrated half to two thirds of the class into slide curling from the Hack,” said Cleland.
The biggest difference from curling is that sturling has two-player teams. Each player acts as a skip, and there are no other roles.
The game also enables more curling in a shorter amount of time, with games supporting 18 throws per player in an hour, compared to 16 throws per player in a two hours traditional curling game. There’s little or no sweeping and more rock throwing involved. “In regular curling there’s lots of sweeping involved, but in sturling you sweep from the hog line into the house if at all, and that’s it.”
Cleland said that there’s a misconception among curlers that Sturling won’t teach the proper game, but it’s a great introduction into all of the techniques curling requires.
“We teach them the basics of the hand turns—the in turns and the out turns are exactly the same whether you’re using a stick or your hand. You’re approach and all the other rules are basically the same, so we are teaching them curling, just a different type of curling.”
The Curling Club’s Sturling Group has about 54 players, but Cleland said with the amount of curlers in the community over the past 100 years, it should be over 100 today—especially because of how accessible the sport is.
“Half of the 54 people have curled before, and the other half have never curled. In their retirement years they’re learning a new sport and are taking active part in sport building,” said Cleland.
“If you can’t bowl or do anything else, you can come and play this game. Even being an “athlete” doesn’t hold you back from playing this game,” he said.
“It’s been established so people can sit on chairs and play, sit in a wheelchair and play, or you can slide from the hack and be a provincial champion and it doesn’t inhibit you at all.”
For the time being, the curling club is offering low-cost sturling opportunities on Monday and Friday evenings as well as Thursday afternoon.
Fridays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. will be geared towards a couples and ladies’ night, and Cleland said he hopes to see a lot more young adults come and try the game.
Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays will be drop-in dates, and it will only cost $5 to play a game of sturling. First timers can give it a try for free, no equipment required and staff will be on-hand to help teach newcomers the ropes.
Drop in times start at 6:30 p.m. on Mondays, 3 p.m. on Thursday afternoons, and 7 p.m. on Fridays.
Those interested in giving sturling a try can reach out to Garry Cleland at 403-339-5040, or firstname.lastname@example.org.