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Curling club finds new home in Cape Cod

November 5, 2018 GMT

ORLEANS, Mass. (AP) — The sound of curling stones sliding down the smooth ice rumbled like a distant thunder inside Charles Moore Arena.

Yells of “sweep” and “up” echoed in the area, while newcomers to the sport of curling did their best to learn the game of sliding the roughly 40-pound stones down the sheet of ice, which has four targets painted under the ice on each end of the rink.

It wasn’t easy at first, as there was plenty of slipping and sliding, but by the time the members played an abbreviated game, they all had done more curling than ever before.

After years of trial and error, these sessions have been used to recruit league players for the newly formed Lower Cape Curling Club, which is aiming to improve access to the sport throughout the Cape.

Many who attended this Learn to Curl session back on Oct. 14 said they were drawn to it after the U.S. men stunned the world by winning the gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

“It’s a blast,” said Harwich’s Richard Humphrey, one of many who took a tumble while trying to deliver the stones. “I’ve played hockey, but I’ve never done curling.”

“It’s lot harder than it looks,” added Shanna Nealy, also from Harwich. “They make it look easy.”

Her term “they” refers to members of the Cape Cod Curling Club in Falmouth, who offered to serve as instructors during for the more than 40 people who attended one of the two-hour learning sessions.

“The nice part about curling, once you know how to do it, you’re welcome at any club,” said Evelyn Nostrand, a former president of the United States Curling Association, who led the instruction.

Nostrand, who collaborated with Lyndsay Clarke, Ron Fancy and the Cape Cod Curling Club to form the Lower Cape Curling Club, welcomed people of all ages, and started by showing a video about the sport and introducing competition etiquette. For example, each match begins with a handshake and the greeting “Good curling.” After the game, teams sit together and socialize, and perhaps most importantly, winners buy drinks and refreshments for the losers.

Though Chatham’s Priscilla Blew and Deb Greig were hesitant to get on the ice at first, Nostrand enticed them by allowing them to use curling sticks designed to deliver stones from a standing position.

“She is unbelievable,” Fancy said of Nostrand. “Without her, this doesn’t happen.”

Fancy, however, certainly made things happen himself, investing over $20,000 into the equipment that he said he plans to eventually donate back to the club.

Since four curling matches can happen simultaneously in Orleans — one more than in Falmouth — he purchased eight sets of stones, plus brooms and hacks (starting blocks).

It’s a hefty price tag, but Fancy already has sold advertising to help offset the cost, putting the names and phone numbers of local businesses on some of them. Some sponsors, Fancy said, are even trying to form teams.

Each participant paid $30 for the training session. The goal was to register people for an 11-week season, with primary sessions on Sundays from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The cost is $200, but those who join later in the session can get a prorated cost.

Nealy was one of those who signed up — something she said wasn’t sure she was going to do before the day began.

“Falmouth is too far to go, so when I saw it was here, I said, ‘I have to try it,’” Nealy said. “Getting to learn about the subtleties should be fun.”

Joe Cammarano was among one of the Cape Cod Curling Club members leading the instruction, as the members were split into six groups. He said he was thrilled at the opportunity.

“Whenever there’s one of those callouts, I’m like, ‘Sign me up, please,’” he said.

Cammarano previously has helped to introduce the sport at young clubs, such as Nantucket’s, and said he hopes to do some one on one with the new curlers to get them more comfortable with technique.

“What I would like to do,” he said, “is spend more time in another session come back and do more of that.”

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Online: https://bit.ly/2F4cnsI

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Information from: Cape Cod (Mass.) Times, http://www.capecodtimes.com