In Falmouth, curling is a sport for all ages

In Falmouth, curling is a sport for all ages

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Todd Benedict of Bourne delivers a rock while Frank Balas of Bourne, left, and John McCarthy, right, of Falmouth prepare to sweep. Sweeping warms the ice, causing the rock to travel farther and curl less. — Photo courtesy of Cape Cod Curling Club

Curling is a sport in which one person slides a heavy round stone with a handle down a bowling alley-like lane of ice while teammates use brooms to control the stone’s movement. It appears on television every four years during the winter Olympics when it may seem a little confusing, maybe a little intriguing. A program this fall in Falmouth is designed to introduce new players to the sport.

The curling club in Falmouth is called the Cape Cod Curling Club (CCCC) where first timers are always welcome to try it out, according to Jeanie Yaroch, a member and co-chair of communications for the club. But, she offers a word of warning: “I don’t want to say it’s addictive, but it can suck you in.”

CCCC is offering an eight-week introduction to curling for those interested in learning the sport on Sundays from 1:30 to 3:30 pm, beginning October 21. The club’s press release points out the times fit the Steamship Authority schedule for Islanders who might want to participate.

Participants will learn about the history (at least 450 years old) and the rules of play, strategy, techniques, and vocabulary. Experienced members of the curling club will teach the fundamentals of delivering and sweeping the stone, and then organize participants into teams for practice games.

Throughout the eight-week session, trainees will be invited to participate in the many social activities hosted by the club. Upon completion of the course, all will be eligible to join the club as full members and play in its winter season, which begins in January. There are leagues for men, women, mixed teams, and juniors.

The club president, Frank Balas of Bourne, who has been curling for 14 years, now curls with two replacement hips. He said that curling is a sport almost anyone can play: “You can be an Olympic athlete or 92 years old.”

He said there are wheelchair leagues and exceptions are sometimes made to the rules for people with disabilities including a stick that can be used to launch the stone by people with bad knees or other mobility limits.

It is an “extremely social sport” both on and off the ice, according to Mr. Balas. There are opportunities to be on travel teams and the club often hosts spiels (Scots for game, match, or competition) with teams from other clubs. CCCC will host the fifth annual Bog Spiel on Cape Cod on the weekend of October 19–21.

The club sponsors dinners and parties throughout the season, which runs from October 15 through April 1. Mr. Balas said there are at least two cocktail parties a month with dinner. The club has a new dining room that can seat more than 100 people with a commercial kitchen and a bar.

The demographics of the club have changed over the years since Mr. Balas has been a member. “When I joined it was almost exclusively older couples,” he said. “It’s substantially younger now and we now have a much larger group of singles. It’s a great place to meet people.”

The club has a very active junior program, called the little rockers and the juniors. Juniors from the club have qualified for national tournaments. When Mr. Balas first joined the club, he said, “There were only 58 active members. Now there are 220 active curlers and over 300 members, not counting juniors.”

The cost for the course is $80. All equipment is provided. The program is limited to 24 trainees. The club is located at 37 Highfield Drive in Falmouth. Registration forms and information are available at capecodcurling.org or by calling 508-540-2414.