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Curling Sweeps Triangle Enthusiasts

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Sweepers control the speed and direction of the stone by brushing across the ice.
CARY — The gentle roar of thunder pounds as they roll out the stones. One of the oldest games around is a relative newcomer to the Olympics, and to the Triangle.

Curling came to our country from the carefully manicured ice of Scotland. It's like shuffleboard on ice, except the game pieces or stones weigh 42 pounds each. You try to get yours inside a small circle, the house, and knock your opponent's out.

You score by curling your stones closest to the center of the house. The more you curl nearer the center, the higher your score.

"To make a stone do what you want it to do," Evelyn Nostrand explains, "and have a team working together where everyone has the skill and the understanding, then the game becomes very exciting."

It's not as easy as it might seems. Many newcomers are getting a crash curling course.

Skip is the team Captain. There are four members to a team. Some say it takes years of practice to master this gentleman's game. Other people are naturals.

Durham curler Jeff Hale has a little trouble getting the stone to the other end, but he's getting close.

There are a thousand infractions in curling. You can only call them on yourself. That's how it will happen in the Olympics. Most occur during sweeping, or using brooms to guide the stone or affect it's speed.

"The most serious infraction in the game is burning a rock," Nostrand says, "which means touching the rock with a broom."

You can sweep your stone to a certain point. Once it travels halfway through the house, your opponents can take over and sweep your stone out of the scoring.

If you can slide a stone, you can curl. You play to win, but never humble your opponent. A true curler would prefer to lose then to win unfairly.

Sharon O'Brien is a curler from Greensboro who sometimes trains with the Triangle Curling Club. She made the women's alterate curling team, runner-up to the team that went to Nagano.

Both the United States men's and women's curling teams are considered medal contenders.

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Jim Payne, Reporter
Richard Adkins, Photographer
Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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