Monday, October 29, 2012
THE HOWLING GAME
Once a year the Glenavy Womenb's Institute has a nmystery bus tour. This year's included a curling session in the indoor rink near Naseby. Think lawn bowls on ice.
First.in the very comfortable lounge upstairs, we watched a short instructional video which explained the rules of Curling.Then we went downstairs for practice goes before dividing into teams and playing a full match.
Warm scarves, caps and gloves were available at the entrance to the curling rinks. As we entered the cold hit us. We donned felted overshoes which were supposed to stop us sliding on the ice. I was careful about stgepping on to the rink, but the ice surface was not as slippery as I expected.
The curling stone was heavier than a ten pin bowling bal, the starting point several steps behind the coloured circles painted on the ice. A player sets one foot in the block and bends one knee, scrapes the stone along the ice to gain momentum to send it whizzing down the rink. Mine did not even pass the start line, but I experienced the feeling of standing on ice and pushing the stone. That was enough for me. I went back to comparative warmth upstairs and watched through the balcony windows as the others played a full match, sending the stones whizzing, following along with brooms ready to sweep a path across the ice.
After an hour they came upstairs for lunch, their cheeks glowing, eyes sparkling, full of enthusiastim.
Around the walls of the lounge were little banners from dozens of countries where curling is an organised sport. I imagine the centre will become as popular as the adjacent ski fields, especially when their luge is completed. I could also imagine families finding the centre useful for a summer break, they could enjoy a day in the cold.