Curling isn’t a sport you hear much about in the U.S. outside of the Olympics, but Bowdoin College’s curling team has seen huge growth over the past four years. The team started in 2010. Four years ago, there were just 5 players. But this year, Bowdoin has 18 registered members, and a few more who are checking the sport out.
BRUNSWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Curling isn’t a sport you hear much about in the United States outside of the Olympics, but Bowdoin College’s curling team has seen huge growth over the past four years.
The team started in 2010. Four years ago, there were just 5 players. But this year, Bowdoin has 18 registered members and a few more who are checking the sport out.
Some players are drawn to the team because they saw the sport on TV during the Olympics. Others are looking for leadership opportunities, or just want to try something new. But Senior Max Sterman thinks its the friendships that blossom on the team that makes people stick with it.
“We are a high-energy team,” Sterman said. “Everybody enjoys being with everybody else. We enjoy what we do on the ice. We enjoy what we do off the ice.”
Being on club curling is not without sacrifice. The team practices 4-5 hours per week. Thursday nights, practices often don’t start until 9 p.m. because ice time is at such a premium. The curlers travel an hour and a half each way to the Belfast Curling Club on Sundays to train with more experienced curlers, and to get on actual curling ice.
Hockey ice is colder than curling ice, and in order to make the stones slide, you have to “pebble” the ice. That means, spray small droplets of deionized water all over the surface. Tournaments, or bonspiels, as they are called, can sometimes be 9 hours away.
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Sophomore Kylie Best, who is the women’s captain of the team, says all that hard work is worth it. “Curling just attracts really kind, really fun, really interesting people. It’s very much a sport of camaraderie.”
Part of the reason, perhaps, is that it is a “gentleman’s sport.” Players shake hands with their opponents. You congratulate the other team when they make a particularly good shot, and, according to team co-captain Cole Hamel, “Traditionally, the winning team buys the losing team drinks. But that doesn’t happen in college curling.” We are told college curlers go out for coffee.