ORLEANS – Curling is a sport that's been around since the 1500s, originating in Scotland before becoming popular in Canada with the immigration of the Scots. Evelyn and John Nostrand of Chatham competed for years. Their immense love of the sport is why they're lending their support in the creation of a new curling club at the Charles Moore Arena in Orleans.
“People are interested in it for the socializing and the athleticism of the sport, as the challenge of the intellectual side of the sport,” said Evelyn, a former president of the US Curling Association. “Curling is like chess on ice because you're always thinking two and three moves ahead.”
The sport has gained an increased following in the U.S. thanks to prominent Olympic coverage. It was watching Olympic curling that inspired Ron Fancy of Fancy Enterprises in Orleans to work with CMA rink managers Don Moon and Lyndsay Clarke on creating a club.
“We've just been watching it over the years and have been talking about it for a couple of years,” said Fancy. “We know when the Olympics come around it gets even more popular. Last winter we decided we'd get the stones.”
There are now 64 stones at the arena, as well as colorful brooms and boxes of special rubber slip-ons that fit over a participant's sneakers to prevent slipping on the arena ice.
“Everything is set up. Now he just needs the people,” said Evelyn. “We would like to see him become successful, because we would like to see the opportunity offered to as many people as are interested in it. The club in Falmouth can accommodate more people, but it's a long ride from the lower Cape.”
Fancy said that a two-year plan is in place to get a full curling club going, which will ideally result in opportunities on the arena ice for competition, skill building, and introducing new players to the sport. It is hoped that the CMA will be able to create a traditional set of sheets in the future, with ice specifically designed for curling.
To gauge interest the group has been holding “Learn to Curl” evenings on Mondays from 5 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 to 9 p.m., during which instructors Amy Henderson of the Cape Cod Curling Club, which operates out of Falmouth, and Jamy Lesage, a former Canadian curling competitor and Orleans summer resident, have been teaching attendees the basics of curling.
“It's a gentleperson's game,” said Evelyn. “It's a game of honor. It's not just a drop-in type of thing. You have to learn how to curl. You have to be prepared for it in equipment and dressing, and you have to be prepared for it in safety.”
Often clubs host friendly matches, unofficial competitions between clubs after which the winning team buys the losing team a drink. Official competitions are known as bonspiels, and happen at all levels of the sport, as does the trading of pins from each of the respective clubs. The Nostrands have an impressive collection of pins from across the globe thanks to their curling adventures.
“We owe a lot to NBC (which broadcast the Olympics) because they showed and explained the game, and made it understandable for people,” Evelyn said.
“I think it's interesting, and I know it's going to be fun,” said Fancy. “We know it's going to take off over time.”
For more information on curling at the Charles Moore Arena visit charlesmoorearena.org. Learn to Curl sessions are $20.