House Call: Holly, Jolly Curling!

Curling is the perfect Christmas sport. It can bring your annual office party to a whole new level of awesome, provide a great way to let off steam and avoid awkward family conversation, and it can be a wonderful way to unwind with friends. Taking your office or even just your department curling is a fantastic team building activity. The best way to arrange for this is to phone your local curling club and create a private booking. Generally you should plan to have eight people to a sheet and be on the ice for about two hours. Put everybody onto numbered teams ahead of time to avoid confusion and disorganization during your event. Assign two teams to a sheet for the first game. For this particular bonspiel, have all even numbered teams play light coloured rocks and have all odd numbered teams play dark coloured rocks. At the end of each two end game the even numbered team should move to the left and the odd numbered team should stay put. This set up is just for fun; if your participants are more serious about the game, create a real draw and make sure teams don’t play on the same sheet repeatedly. Another fun game that is non-competitive is Surprise Curling. Have teams throw all the rocks in each end without knowing the rules. At the conclusion of the end, draw from a hat or role the dice to see how scoring works. An example of scoring could be that all rocks not over the hogline score points or only rocks in the eight-foot score points. Carry on choosing new rules for every end.

Take the family to the rink this holiday season - just like Mark and Heather at last year's Scotties (Photo Andrew Klaver)

Plan to have a half hour lesson or practice period prior to starting your games. It is good idea to have an instructor, either from the curling club or from within your group, to show everyone the ropes before starting the games. This cuts down on safety hazards and helps to ensure that nobody feels uncomfortable. If you spend entirely too much time cooped up inside with the family during the holidays, take them down to the curling club for some slippery family fun! While most clubs aren’t open on Christmas Day, it is often possible to curl on Boxing Day or any other day until New Year’s Eve. Ask the curling club if you can borrow lite rocks for the little ones, then put together some teams and play for candy canes and hot chocolate. Many clubs offer bonspiels between Christmas and New Year. These are a great opportunity to get some friends together and work off all that turkey and stuffing. Have a look at the bonspiel board at your curling club to see what bonspiels are available in your area, and sign up fast – these events are often very popular. Whatever you do this holiday season try to make some time for fun on the ice!