Curling is Cool Day
annually on February 23rd
Curling is Cool Day celebrates a sport that is cool, both because it is hip, and because it is played on ice. Curling is one of the world's oldest team sports. Heavy granite stones, usually weighing 44 pounds, are slid down a rectangular sheet of ice towards a target. The targets are made of four concentric circles, and stones that stop closer to the center of a target are given higher scores. Curling brooms are used by "sweepers" to help guide the stones, by sweeping the ice in front of the stones, as they make their way down the ice. Teams are usually composed of four players each, and each team gets eight stones. The game was given the nickname "The Roaring Game" because of the rumbling sound the stones make as they slide across the ice. It has also been called "Chess on ice."
Curling began in Scotland in the 1500s, where it was played on ponds and lakes during winter. Some people still play it outside in similar settings. The earliest curling stones date to 1511, and the first written records of the sport date to 1540. In the 1600s, stones with handles were introduced. The Caledonian Curling Club was formed in 1838, and with it the first rules of the sport were adopted. The club was renamed the Royal Caledonian Curling Club in 1843; Queen Victoria had watched a demonstration of the sport and loved it, and subsequently acceded to the request for the name change. During this time the sport started becoming popular in cold climates where the Scots settled, such as Canada, the United States, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, and New Zealand. In the following century, various changes came about with the sport: the stone was standardized, the slide delivery was developed, and the game was moved to indoor ice facilities.
In 1957, a meeting took place to try to form an international organization; an organization would be necessary in order to apply to get into the Olympics. A meeting was held once again in 1965, and six countries agreed to form the International Curling Federation. It was officially established in 1966, and the United States joined the following year. Its constitution set the rules for international curling competition. In 1990, its name was changed to the World Curling Federation.
A competition called the Scotch Cup series began in 1959, and Scotland and Canada were participants; shortly thereafter they were joined by other countries, including the United States. It was replaced by the Air Canada Silver Broom in 1968, which became the World Curling Championship. The World Junior Men's Curling Championship began in 1975, the Ladies' Curling Championship began in 1979, and the World Junior Ladies' Curling Championship started in 1988. In 1989, the four events became two: the World Curling Championships and the World Junior Curling Championships. Now there also are the World Wheelchair Curling Championships and the World Senior Championships.
Curling was part of the inaugural Winter Olympics in 1924, in Chamonix, France. They were discontinued and reintroduced as a demonstration sport at the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. They were also a demonstration sport at the 1936, 1964, 1988, and 1992 Olympics. In 1998 they once again became an official sport at the Winter Olympics, where eight teams competed. In 2002, ten teams competed at the Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mixed doubles curling teams, consisting of only two players, one male and one female, debuted at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, in 2018. Curling is also a part of the Youth Olympic Winter Games.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by curling. Find a place in your community where you can curl, or play the game how it was originally played, on ice outside. It is important to know the rules of the game before playing; learn the games' basic rules, or read the more in-depth World Curling Federation rules. You may also be able to watch curling on television today, as the day sometimes happens during the Winter Olympics.