Posted by: Peaceful Social Worker | February 28, 2012

Throwing rocks at houses

Last night was my curling night. We had a great game even though we got clobbered. I am a fairly new curler. This is my “second, second year”. I started curling five years ago and curled for two seasons. I took a year off because I had foot surgery, then returned last year. I play on the “rec league” which is a hodge podge of curlers at different levels of skill. This is the league where beginning curlers usually start. It is the league where you get to see people improve through the season. Most of all, it is a friendly, fun league.

There’s a lot to learn from curling. I have used curling metaphors in my work quite often. Well, with fellow curlers anyway. To me, curling is an individual sport that you do in a team. You work on your own skills, and you are part of a team. As you improve your skills, your team will improve. At least in theory. I suppose this is true for other sports, I haven’t been on a team before. One thing I wonder about though is why you have to work harder when you get better at curling…….

Curling is very civilized. Each game is started with handshakes and “Good game”. The game ends with handshakes and another “Good game”, often accompanied by a thank you. Opponents will recognize when  a player has thrown a good rock. They will also give feedback to improve your game. Very civilized.

Curling is a very good way to relieve stress. You can chat with your fellow sweeper as you run down the ice sweeping the rock. One thing you need to know before I make the next comment, is that you throw rocks at houses in curling. The place where you start is called the “hack”. The circles at the other end of the “sheet” (strip of ice) make up the “house”. The object is to get more of your rocks next to the “button”, or the dot in the middle of the circles. If you are angry or stressed out, you can legitimately throw rocks at houses and not get into trouble. It is very therapeutic!

I was quite angry about something in the fall. Luckily, there was drop-in curling that afternoon, and I was able to go and curl. I thought I’d be the kind of angry that would interfere with my game. I was a little afraid I’d fall and crack my head open on the ice. That didn’t happen. I actually curled better than usual. I think the extra adrenaline helped. There was also an opportunity to focus on a target and breathe. Good strategies for calming yourself down. The physical activity helped too. Two hours later, at the end of the game, I felt much better.

There’s a lot to be learned from curling. If we consider our interactions with others to be civilized and find a way to say “good game” in a spirit of cooperation, we will probably do better in our relationships. If we work on our own skills and recognize we are part of a team, we will improve. I suspect too, that as we get better at relationships, we might have to work harder. Good relationships are worth the work. Finally, if angry, focus, breathe and burn off some of the adrenaline so you can think of a good solution, or can go back and resolve the issue in a calmer manner.

The curling season is almost over for this year. I’ve improved and have learned a lot. Never-the-less, I will not be giving Heather Nedohin any competition anytime soon!

Good game. 🙂

If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it. ~George Burns 1896-1996



  1. I actually learned something today about a sport I always thought of as, at best, corny…
    And getting your anger and tension out in a healthy way? Nothing better than exercise and refocusing…you just made curlers (well, at least, you) a little more human and a smidgen more understandable today…

    • Thanks cityprole. Curling is actually fun, and is even fun to watch when you figure it out. I encourage you to try it out if you get a chance. It is a sport you can learn even if you aren’t a kid anymore!

  2. I haven’t been back out west for many years, not once since I returned home to Ontario. You brought back very vivid images of my parents days at the curling rink. It’s funny how a memory can come back, just like that, all crystal clear after being buried for so long. I saw my parents very clearly in my mind’s eye. They were entering our trailer, and they were happy as children, or lunatics depending on how I frame it up. They were frantically and excitedly waving two goofy plastic curling trophies in the air for my approval. There was lots of laughter about the shock and surprise and the unlikliness of a repeat performance. Curling always made them a little giddy. Probably it was the release of tension you talked about. I am really enjoying your blog.

    • LOL….yep, I know people like your parents. 🙂 Curling is good fun. People are generally civilized and will help each other. It is hard to take yourself too seriously when you are walking/running/sliding on ice sometimes!

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