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'The World Stops': Hooked on Curling in the Hudson Valley

For a group of about 200 people who come together in Westchester to play their sport on a regular basis, curling is much more than an Olympic game.

It's therapy for Laura Hill, a Hastings-on-Hudson resident who joined the Ardsley Curling Club about four years ago. When she is on the ice, she is not thinking of anything else.  

"The world just stops," she said.

It was during the 2010 Olympics that she and her husband took an interest in the sport. 

"We signed up for an open house and I went just thinking this will be just a goof," she told Patch. "And we both instantly got hooked. Joined on the spot and haven't stopped."

The origins of curling go back to Scotland in the 1500s. The game consists of players, who are part of teams of four, sliding rocks down the ice toward a target.

When Hill first started, she saw the motion as similar to that of a bowler's—but curling is "much more aerobic than you think." It requires core strength and balance, Hill said, along with the courage it takes to basically run on ice. 

"Curling is an easy sport to learn but it takes years to master," said Tom Doherty, president of the club. He and Hill were at the facility on a recent Thursday for one of the organization's 12 league plays. 

Curlers of all levels and ages—from 8 to 80 years old; first-timers to competitive players—take to the ice every day from early October to early April. They come from all over: neighboring towns, Connecticut and New Jersey.

"There is a league for everyone," Doherty said.

And the fun doesn't end when the game does.  

"That was one of the unexpected benefits, we instantly had all these new friends," Hill said. "Curlers are just great people ... It's tradition to socialize afterwards."

The Ardsley Curling Club is located on North Mountain Drive in Ardsley-on-Hudson. Click here for the Olympics curling schedule and here to learn about upcoming open houses at the club.
Randy Sussman February 08, 2014 at 02:02 AM
Measles outbreak at the Palisades Mall which is a real story and the main story here is about curling that no one cares about? Sigh.
Lanning Taliaferro (Editor) February 08, 2014 at 07:51 AM
Hi, Randy. We have warned people about the child with measles who went to the mall on Patch and on our Facebook pages. As for curling, it's one of my family's favorite Olympic sports, because you can do it in street shoes with a broom!
Issy February 08, 2014 at 09:27 AM
First saw curling in Scotland as a kid and it is a fascination and inclusive sport that is multi-generational even at the Olympic level.
Glenn Govier February 08, 2014 at 03:55 PM
Leave it to the Scots to invent a game this daft. Even more silly than hitting a ball with a stick into a wee hole hundreds of yards away... ;-)

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