Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

My First Curling Experience

I've been watching curling on television for over 20 years, mostly with encouragement and helpful explanations from my wife. Until last Friday night, I had never tried it.

For those of you who don't know what "curling" is, it isn't a hair-styling contest (as is obvious from my photo to the right). In curling, the contestants slide heavy rocks with handles down the ice. The goal is for your team to get more rocks closer to the centre of the target (called a house) than your opponents.

It is called "curling" because just as the curler lets go of the rock, s/he puts a very slight rotation on it by turning the handle. This spin makes the rock curve as it goes down the ice, unlike the disks that are pushed in shuffleboard. The physics of curling is similar to the Physics of Baseball, a book I strongly recommend. What helps make curling really interesting is that how far the rock slides, and how much it curves, can be affected by the sweepers who literally sweep the ice in front of the rock. The more they sweep, the farther rock goes and the less it curves, making the sweeping an important part of the game. Here are some pretty decent books about curling but there are plenty of others,

including Curling for Dummies, which I just ordered for myself.

We had gone to the curling rink several times over the past month, just to "throw rocks" and get the feel of the ice. But last Friday night we were thrust into team play. My wife was pretty good; I sucked.
And sweeping is very hard work!

Update: My wife and I both use push sticks to deliver the stones, but the books I've mentioned above don't have anything about the use of the push sticks.
Also, after our third time out, I had improved considerably (thank goodness!)
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