CEDAR RAPIDS — As the 2018 Winter Olympics began, so did the questions about curling.
Curling is played on ice in either pairs or teams of four. It is a mix of shuffleboard and chess where a team scores by throwing their 38- to 44-pound stones onto the target, known as the house. A point is earned by the team that is closest to the target’s center, known as the button, after all stones are thrown. The sweeping done by one of the team members brushes away little droplets of water that are sprinkled onto the ice. Each team member throws two stones.
Although many people from the United States watched curling from the Pyeongchang Olympics the last two weeks, the sport has been in Cedar Rapids’ backyard for many years.
Xavier receptionist Lynn Benkusky-Karpick is a member of the Cedar Rapids Curling Club.
“I have always thought that this sport was intriguing whenever I watched it on the Olympics,” Benkusky-Karpick said. “Now that I am going to be an empty-nester soon, I thought it was a good idea to get out there and try it.”
Benkusky-Karpick decided to make this move on her own, with no friends or family attending the practices with her. She already has made many friends and is beginning to create a name for herself.
“Lynn has gravitated to the sport quickly in both skills and enthusiasm,” teammate Anne York said. “She quickly picked up the etiquette, rules and techniques to allow her to have fun while playing the game. She comes each week ready to get on the ice with a happy, welcoming attitude and makes the game more challenging for those who play against her.”
Although Benkusky-Karpick enjoys nearly everything about the sport, it does come with some downfalls.
“The sport is relatively easy to learn, but hard to be good at,” Benkusky-Karpick said. “It can be really frustrating having to leave practice knowing you cannot work on it outside of the rink.”
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Despite its flaws, Benkusky-Karpick is looking forward to being able to get better and trying out her new USA colored broom.
The Cedar Rapids Ice Arena is hosting their Learn to Curl event Tuesday, starting at 7 p.m.