Why I Curl: Kelsey Schuder
Curling isn’t a sport, I mean, it isn’t just a sport. Curling at its most basic involves ice, some heavy rocks and some fools hanging around on that ice. Curling for me started in the form of letters sent from home to a very far away land where there was no ice and everything was hot. It started as a dream of something odd and something different. On the rare occasions I had internet access I would download curling rules and terminology onto a tiny flash drive to then consume alone in a dark room. The terminology started to make sense and it was a way to connect with my family who was so very far away. I returned two years later to an entire family of curlers; my parents and sister had taken to curling and were intoxicated with its lure. 24 hours after arriving in a jetlag haze I was on the very ice I had heard so much about. I squatted down in that hack, concentrated very hard, pushed off and promptly fell over in a rather disgraceful display. After several more slightly less disgraceful slides from the hack and some awkward sweeping instruction I was thrown into a game with curlers who knew what they were doing. It didn’t seem to matter that I was inept, that team encouraged me and cheered every lucky shot regardless of how many other shots didn’t even make it into play. After that game I sat down with my teammates and our opponents and we got to know one another during the highly lauded traditional broomstacking.
Unlike many other sports where the learning curve is steep and if you aren’t very talented you don’t end up surviving beyond the first season curling is a sport that anyone can play, it is one of the most inclusive sports I’ve encountered. People talk about the spirit of curling and often toss it around like a regular aspect of the game but I think the spirit of curling is what sets the sport apart from all other sports. The culture engrained into the sport is one of competition but a competition brewed with kindness and sportsmanship and equality. And regardless of what happens on the ice you always have the opportunity to shake it off during a pint of a local brew after the game. It is this sense of community that initially attracted me to curling and it is that same community that has kept me curling and makes me so excited to help create a curling culture here in Rochester.