Curling Ain't Easy

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Back in February, during the thick of the Olympic craze, my aunt signed my cousins and I up for Curling lessons. Apparently, the San Francisco Bay Area has a huge curling community, and lessons are offered at Shark Ice, the practice facility for the San Jose Sharks.

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At the time, curling was all the rage and the earliest opening she could get was May - last night.

So began our Olympic dreams.

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During the Olympics, there was carpet on the ice during the curling matches, so I thought that's what we would be standing on during the lesson. When I realized that there was no carpet, and we would be walking on the ice with just our sneakers, I freaked out. I mean, I got nervous - the kind of nervous where your stomach starts jumping around, your palms get sweaty, and you start to sweat.

I don't ice skate. I spent 6 winters in Utah and the 2 times I have ice skated, I used the walker (and I'm not ashamed to admit it). Though I didn't fall with the walker, I have slipped and fallen on ice just walking around town, and it hurts.

The mind games started - "What if I slipped and twisted my ankle? Or my knee? Or a wrist?" I didn't want to risk injury, but I also didn't want to miss out on the chance to curl. I envisioned myself crawling across the ice. I really did.

My prayers were answered in that, out of the 10 stations, we were assigned to the one closest to the entry way, so luckily I didn't have to walk far. I took one step on the ice and froze (no pun intended). I stood there, gripping the wall, unable to let go, until my cousins walked over to escort me to our station. Once there, I stood planted, not moving an inch.

The first round of the lesson had us pushing off a block (much like a sprinter's block), on one foot, while the other foot, knee-bended, was placed upon a very slippery disc. We were given 2 stones (42 pounds each). We were to push off, one hand on each stone, and slide on the ice, slowly releasing the stones.

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Here's my cousin Mike on his first attempt:

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The second round was the same thing, except we only used one stone, while the other hand used a stabilizing pipe thingy.

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Also during the second round, we were introduced to the brooms, for the sweeping portion of the game.

Then in the third round, the stabilizing pipe was replaced by another broom in the open hand.

My cousins Mike and Shari mastered it pretty well.

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My aunt, and Ericka, mastered the sweeping part of it pretty well.

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Me? This is the only photo you will see of me curling:

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Why? Because I stunk at it!

Here's the deal:

Curling is a lot harder than I thought it would be! A LOT HARDER. I now have mad props for those Olympic curlers. It is all legs and core = the push-off and balancing. Well I have some pretty strong legs and do core workouts 3x's a week, so what was my problem you ask?

I couldn't get over the fear of slipping on the ice. It played with my mind, I was afraid! Argggghhhhh! So that was it. The start and end of my Olympic dreams. But at least I had a whole lot of fun!

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Here's videos of the curling experts in the family: