Unique Winter Activities near the South Shore of Massachusetts
Brought to you by Hingham Realtor Alice Pierce serving the South Shore of Boston
There is Still Some Winter Left
On Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney Phil came ripping out of his tree-trunk lair in what was reported to be a very “feisty mood,” but once he settled down it was obvious that he did indeed see his own shadow. This means there will be six more weeks of winter, and six more weeks to enjoy unique winter activities close to the South Shore in Massachusetts.
Staten Island Chuck, a New York groundhog with an astounding accuracy record (said to be close to 80 percent) for meteorological predictions, did not see his shadow so perhaps spring will arrive sooner than the Gobbler’s Knob, PA rodent predicted. Nonetheless, there are still winter activities to enjoy, and one of them is curling.
A Surprisingly Complex Sport: Curling
The quiet, unassuming sport of curling is filled with ancient culture, unmistakeable jargon (once you learn it) and the in-depth study of physics and ice. Believe it or not, curling clubs abound in Massachusetts and once you try it, you will never be the same. The South Shore Curling Club has its home in Bridgewater, MA, a short distance from Hingham and other South Shore towns.
Curling is an ice sport believed to have originated in Scotland in the 16th century. There was a curling stone inscribed with the year 1511 that was uncovered after a Scotland pond was drained. The first time curling appeared in print was in 1620 where it was described as “the roaring game” because of the sound the stones make while traveling. The first Olympic medals in curling were awarded for the 1924 Winter Games.
Early on, playing stones had flat bottoms and were of varying sizes and shapes giving the thrower little control over the speed and strength of the throw, Hence, the game was more one of luck rather than skill or ability.
Initially placed on outside ice called the “sheet,” today, arena curling is played on artificial ice on at indoor rink. The inconsistent way droplets of water form to make the ice (the droplets are called pebbles) create a surface much like a golf green and a great deal goes into analyzing the ice itself. Each sheet ends with a target that is called a “tee,” and the goal of the game is to get your stones closest to the target.
The Gear of Curling
Curling stones are are made from granite and weigh about 20 Kilograms, or between 38 and 44 pounds so that players stretch into a deep lunge at the start before throwing their stone towards the target, or the home end. Curling is played in teams and as the stone is on its way to being delivered, the designated “skip” uses a brush or a broom to sweep the ice frantically but decisively in order to adjust the ice in a favorable way. Two other sweepers continue this activity at the skip’s instruction, all the while reducing the friction underneath the stone and ensuring a clear path to the target.
Curling brooms or the curling brush, were once made from corn strands at the end of a solid wooden dowel and were similar to household brooms before the introduction of artificial materials. Nowadays, most curlers opt for the curling brush instead of the corn broom. Curling brushes have hollow tubed handles made of carbon fibre or fiberglass and a selection of fabric, hog hair, or horsehair heads.
Curling shoes are like athletic shoes but with soles that differ from each other. One shoe has a slider sole, and the other shoe a gripper sole to enable proper delivery of the stone by the thrower. Regular athletic shoes can be converted to sliders by using a step-on or slip-on Teflon slider or by applying electrical or gaffer tape directly to the sole or over a piece of cardboard. This arrangement works just fine for casual players.
Curling pants and clothes
Curling pants need to be very stretchy to accommodate the lunging motions required when delivering the stone. Curling gloves and mittens keep the hands warm and also improve grip on the broom.
Laws of physics, deep strategy and skill come into play in all the different ways the curler can influence the path, velocity and spin of the stone. What results is a more accurate delivery of the curling stone to its target.
The verb ‘curl’ is an English word that describes how the curling stone moves. Curling is replete with interesting words that herald from its medieval origins in Scotland. Words like hack, hog line, bite stick, cashspiel and kizzle kazzle are but some of the words in curling terminology. For all the curling words you will ever need, the Wikipedia website has a comprehensive collection.
Curling Near the South Shore
Go no further than Bridgewater, MA to find the South Shore Curling Club where you can learn everything there is to know about this time honored sport. The curling season lasts right through April and curling games happen on Friday nights from 8:40 pm until 11:10 pm at the Bridgewater Ice Arena on the West rink. The South Shore Curling Club also offers curling lessons lasting 2 1/2 hours for those interested in going beyond the spectator perspective.
“Broomstacking” is a big part of the curling tradition and happens after the games. Historically, when curling only happened outside on frozen ponds, curlers stacked their brooms in front of the fire to then enjoy beverages with their opponents. Today this tradition continues, but it is usually inside and involves snacks affectionately known as broomstacking food.
For more details visit the South Shore Curling Club website. It is full of information about the sport of curling.
Even though it feels like winter, spring will be upon us in the blink of an eye. Be prepared for your next real estate transaction by meeting with Alice Pierce, one of the best listing and selling agents on the South Shore of Boston. Alice Pierce is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, and a lifelong resident of Hingham who knows all of the coastal towns and the neighborhoods within them. Whether you are interested in Hingham, MA, Cohasset, MA, Hull, MA, Norwell, MA and any other South Shore towns, give her a call at 781-724-7622, anytime. Alice Pierce can also be reached by email or through her Coldwell Banker real estate website.
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