Drunk, Sober, High: Learn To Curl

Curling, or “Chess on Ice,” is a sport of throwing stones down the ice and trying to land them in a circle on the other side — think shuffleboard or Boules.

It may be an Olympic sport, but it isn’t one that the average person gets to play. So when we heard the Centre County Curling Club was hosting a “Learn to Curl” event at the Pegula Ice Arena, we sent three writers in different states of mind and asked them to write about their experiences.

Drunk

My drunk curling adventure began with a horrible Bloody Mary, followed by seven shots of Crown Russe vodka. Upon Sober’s arrival with the devastating news that the White Loop wasn’t running, we started our trek up to Pegula, which I was NOT HAPPY ABOUT. It was windy and cold and I hated it.

When we got to Pegula, it was beat like a frat party at 3 a.m. Instead of beating the rush and signing up right away, my mind was elsewhere (Subway, to be exact). In the process of ordering my meatball hoagie, which was the first of three I had that day, I ran into none other than the woman that brought me into this world. Yes, I talked to my mother completely wasted. Sorry, Mom.

I have no idea how long we were at Subway, but when we got back down to the sign-in table, there were literally hundreds of people in line. HUNDREDS. Luckily, there was a men’s club hockey game going on on the lower level, meaning they were playing Timber during every intermission. There’s only one person in this world that loves that song more than sober me, and that’s drunk me. After shaking my ass the whole way to the front of the line, I signed the liability waiver and took my place in the back of a shorter line where we waited forever (probably not actually).

When we finally got out onto the ice, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it’d be, despite the fact that drunk me picked out a pair of boots with absolutely no traction on them. At least, that’s what I thought in the beginning. Of course, they pointed us to the station on the complete other side of the rink so we shuffled the whole way over there, where I almost fell down the first time.

Sober and High went first, both mildly successful. When it came to be my turn, my drunk was in full swing. I crouched, got my footing right (after being told it was wrong six times and then readjusting), and pushed the block with all my might. I fell directly onto my face.

I tried one more time and it was not any more successful, so I gave up and tried sweeping. Worst decision of my life. That shit was so hard, I was close to passing out immediately after my first round of sweeping.

In summation, curling is hard and drunk curling is impossible. Don’t do it.

Sober

I’ll give you some background information on me before I tell my story: I LOVE curling. During last winter’s Olympics, I woke up at 3 a.m. multiple times to watch the United States team compete, and I’ve researched curling clubs close to home (there aren’t any yet). I don’t know why I find this sport so fascinating, but I do.

So when the CCCC gave me the opportunity to throw those 42 lb. stones down the ice, I jumped on the chance.

After patiently guiding our inebriated group through campus, we arrived at Pegula. There were a few people at a table signing up, but we decided to head up to Subway instead. When we returned, we saw a line that would make John Shuster proud, as hundreds of people waited to get their chance to curl on the Pegula ice.

The process of curling was more difficult than I anticipated, but man, was it fun! I placed my foot in a plastic object that resembled a track starting block, found my balance on the ice, and off I went. My first throw was shorter than I anticipated, and my second was longer. I have no doubt that I would have thrown a third shot right in the center of the house if I had been given the chance.

Next, High and I teamed up to sweep for a few stones. I wasn’t expecting this to be as difficult as it was. In retrospect, I probably should have, but I was taken aback at how hard we worked for just a few throws. It was pretty great to hear our instructor screaming “HARD!” at High, though.

While I was hoping to get more than just a few throws, I was definitely pleased with the experience. I saw High and Drunk fall spectacularly, I didn’t fall myself, and I got to try out something I assumed I never would. I even signed up to get emails from the CCCC!

If any readers needs a thrower for their curling team, hit me up!

High

I shouldn’t have worn just a tee shirt.

Sober is navigating our trio of degenerates from downtown to Pegula, but I’m convinced we’ve taken a wrong turn. Sufficiently stoned, the season’s first cold Saturday is disturbing me, and I’m becoming increasingly paranoid that we’re going to miss the 2:30 start.

Magically, after cutting through parts of this campus I never knew existed, we arrive. We’re 20 minutes early.

Inside, it’s even colder. Following a detour upstairs for a much-needed sandwich, we return to the main entrance, suddenly greeted by a line of a hundred people just to sign up. I want to go home and watch football for the rest of the day.

But we persevere.

There’s a club hockey game going on in the lower rink. I begin to think that these players suppose this crowd is for their game. They watch us as we watch them, both in curiosity of the other’s presence.

The lights shine bright as I step onto Pegula’s main rink. The ice has just been cleaned; the stones are properly set up.

I’ve waited a half hour for this moment. I’m ready to curl.

I think my “coach,” a middle-aged female curler, knows that I’m high. She asks for my right hand, and I give her my left. On my first attempt slinging the rock, I forget to let go, and slide down the ice with it.

“It’s okay,” she tells me, masking her sense of bemused bewilderment.

Sweeping, the action of removing friction from the ice with a broom, is even harder. After one session, I’m out of breath. We’re forced to do it twice more, these times with more vigor.

I’m ready to leave. Curling is a cruel sport.

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