About Curling

“I mean, I look at this thing and it’s just a rock.”
“No, it’s not just a rock.”
“No… It’s forty-two pounds of polished granite, with a beveled underbelly and a handle a human being can hold.  And it may have no practical purpose in and of itself, but it is a repository of human possibility and if it’s handled just right it will exact a kind of poetry.  For ten years I’ve drilled for oil, in ninety-three countries on five different continents and not once have I done anything to equal the grace of a well thrown rock sliding down a sheet… not once.”  - Men With Brooms, 2002

History, Etiquette and How the Game is Played


"Curling has been described as the “Roarin’ Game”, with the “roar” coming from the sound of a granite stone as it travels over the ice.  The exact origins of the game however, are unclear, lost in the mists of time.

Paintings by 16th century Flemish artist, Pieter Bruegel (1530-1569) portrayed an activity similar to curling being played on frozen ponds.  (Click here for more info and to see these paintings.)  The first written evidence appeared in Latin, when in 1540, John McQuhin, a notary in Paisley, Scotland, recorded in his protocol book a challenge between John Sclater, a monk in Paisley Abbey and Gavin Hamilton, a representative of the Abbot.  The report indicated that Sclater threw a stone along the ice three times and asserted that he was ready for the agreed contest.  What is clear, however, is that what may have started as an enjoyable pastime of throwing stones over ice during a harsh Northern European winter, has evolved into a popular modern sport with its own World Championships attracting fans and large television audiences."  For more on the history of the sport of curling, visit: http://www.worldcurling.org/history-of-curling.

"Foot firm and fair,
Play to a hair;
Your stone, if well directed,
Will hit your aim,
And win the game;
If not, be not dejected."
- St. Bride Society of Douglas, 1794


  • Curling is a game of skill and traditions.  A shot well executed is a delight to see and so, too, it is a fine thing to observe the time-honored traditions of curling being applied in the true spirit of the game.
  • Curlers play to win but never to humble their opponents.  A true curler would prefer to lose rather than win unfairly.
  • A curler never attempts to distract an opponent or otherwise prevent another curler from playing his or her best.
  • No curler ever deliberately breaks a rule of the game or any of its traditions.  But, if a curler should do so inadvertently and become aware of it, he or she is the first to divulge the breach.
  • While a main objective of the game is to determine the relative skills of the players, the spirit of the game demands good sportsmanship, kindly feeling and honorable conduct.
  • This spirit should influence both the interpretation and application of the rules of the game and also the conduct of all participants on and off the ice.
  • Be humble in victory... be gracious in defeat.
"... If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same..."
- Rudyard Kipling, 1895


  • I will play the game with a spirit of good sportsmanship.
  • I will conduct myself in an honorable manner both on and off the ice.
  • I will never knowingly break a rule or any of its traditions, but if I do, I will immediately divulge the breach.
  • I  will take no action that could be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate or demean my opponents, teammates or officials.
  • I will interpret the rules in an impartial manner, always keeping in mind that the purpose of the rules is to ensure that the game is played in an orderly and fair manner.
  • I will humbly accept any penalty that the governing body at any level of curling deems appropriate, if I am found in violation of the Code of Ethics or rules of the game.


  • Start with a handshake.  At the beginning of each game greet the members of the opposing team with a handshake, tell them your name and wish them “Good Curling!”  Make sure everyone knows everyone else.
  • Finish with a handshake.  When the game is over, offer each player a hearty handshake and say, “Good game,” regardless of the outcome.  The winning curlers traditionally offer their counterparts some refreshment, with the opponents reciprocating for the second round.
  • Compliment a good shot.  One of the nicest curling traditions is that players and spectators compliment a good shot by either side while holding comment on a poor shot or a competitor’s misfortune.
  • Be courteous.  Avoid distracting movements when a curler is in the hack.  When your team is not shooting, keep your distance and stand quietly.  Sweepers should stand off to the side between the hog lines.  Never walk or run across the ice when an opponent ins in the hack.  Avoid gathering around the hack at either end of the ice.
  • Be ready.  Get into the hack as soon as your opponent has delivered his/her rock.  Keep the game moving - delays detract from the sport.  Be prepared to sweep as soon as your teammate releases the rock.
  • Wait for the score.  Vice skips are the players who determine the score for each end.  Other players should wait outside the house until the outcome is settled.  Once decided, others may help clear the rocks.
  • Keep the ice clean.  The shoes you wear for curling should only be used for curling.  Sand, grit and salt from street shoes can ruin the ice surface.  Change into a clean pair of flat, rubber-soled shoes that can grip the ice.
  • Practice on a different sheet.  Those who arrive early to throw a few rocks to practice or warm up are encouraged to do so, if pre-game ice is available.  But be sure to avoid using the sheet you’ll be playing on.
  • Be on time.  Get to the club in time to change and warm up before the game.  When you’re late, you hold up the other players.  If you know you’ll be unavoidably late, let your team know in advance.
  • Get a sub!  There may be times when you’re not able to curl as scheduled.  It’s your responsibility to get a substitute.  Contact your skip and give the name of the curler subbing for you.


  • Never go onto the ice when your balance is impaired from sickness, medication or alcohol.
  • Warm up before the game.  Stretching and warming muscles before going out onto the ice can help prevent injury.
  • Step onto the ice gripper-foot first.  Never use your slider foot to step onto the ice.   Always remove the slider or use a gripper when your turn to deliver is over or when leaving the ice.
  • Never stop a rock with your hands or feet.  Your fingers can be crushed, especially if the rock hits another rock while you're trying to stop it.  Never use your foot to stop a fast-moving rock.  You could lose your balance and fall.  Use your broom to stop a moving rock.
  • Always carry your broom, which you can use to avoid or break a fall in case you lose your balance.
  • Keep the rocks on the ice at all times.  Slide the rocks - never lift them.
  • Keep your feet on the ice.  Walk or slide, never hop or run.
  • Do not run on the ice!  When sweeping, if you can't keep up with a fast-moving rock, just let it go.  It's not worth the risk of falling to try to run after the rock. Sweeping is often ineffective for fast-moving stones anyway.
"The sun had clos'd the winter day,
The curlers quat their roarin' play."
- Robbie Burns, 1786

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Ocean State Curling Club
Rhode Island, USA
Email: [email protected]
Voicemail: (401) 400-1036



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About the Club ...

Ocean State Curling Club is dedicated to the enjoyment, fellowship, and promotion of curling in Rhode Island. We believe in building a strong community through the sport of curling by providing a welcoming environment for athletes of all ages and skill levels, creating the opportunity to improve skills while having fun.