HAVRE — In probably any sport, the athletes make it look so easy. Curling is no exception, but it's not as easy as you might think.
"Curling, the best way to describe it is it's kind of a mix between shuffleboard and chess on ice,” said Hi-Line Curling Club vice president Andrew Herbina. "It's very strategic but at the same time you can have all the strategy in the world but if you don't hit your marks, it doesn't matter."
It's typically played with four people on a team with two teams competing against each other.
Team members are split between the two ends of the ice rink and gently slide stones weighing about 44 pounds one at a time down the ice.
"Some of the terms you're going to hear when you're watching the Olympics, you've got your broom which is kind of self explanatory. It's the broom that you're sweeping the ice with. You have the stones. Those are the actual stones that you're throwing down the ice playing with,” Herbina explained. "You’ll have a center line and that's a line from end to end so you kind of have an idea where the center of the ice and the button at the far end should be. The button is what you're aiming at. Closest stone to the button gets the point."
Herbina’s advice if you’re thinking about getting into the sport?
“Be willing to learn, be willing to look foolish when you start, and wear soft-soled shoes."
Herbina said the club currently has around 100 members.
"You'll have a real heavy push toward curling to start with during the Olympics and then the other three years it kind of wanes off. But once the Olympics comes back on people are all about it all over again. But it just takes that one time for somebody coming out and that's going to get them and they're going to want to come back year after year. That's what we've found with the people in our league,” said Herbina.
The Hi-Line Curling Club located in Havre is one of six in Montana. Butte, Bozeman, Helena, Missoula, and Whitefish each have clubs as well.