Curling Culture In Canada
The game’s age and history gives curling a culture of its own, the first being, naming of the teams. Teams in standard competitions are generally named after the skip of the team, for instance, Team Martin for skip Kevin Martin. Amateur league players can and do name their teams with fancy titles, but while in a bonspiel, the team becomes official and uses its standard name. Though ideally, championships of curling of topmost rank are generally played by all women or all men teams, the concept of mixed curling exists too, in which two male and two female players take part. The Canadian Curling Championship of mixed type happens to be the mixed curling competition of highest level.
Curling started from Scotland and is played now among a host of countries. These are Canada, The UK, The US, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland and Japan. All these countries participate in the world championships. Curling is very popular in Canada, improvements in ice making and rule revision to increase scoring and complex strategy use have emerged from Canada making the sport all the more popular in the country. There is a large television audience for the sport especially for the national women championship ‘the Scotties tournament of hearts’, the men’s championship ‘Tim Horton’s Brier’ and the mixed curling championships.
Though the population of the province is very low, the Canadian province of Manitoba has won the Brier more times than the teams of any other province. The territorial and provincial champions of the world are involved in the hearts and brier and it is the national champions who are involved in the world championships. Curling is Saskatchewan’s provincial sport. The province happens to be home to some of the best curlers of all time. Ernie Richardson and family are considered to be the best male curlers of all time and they dominated the Canadian and international curling for more than a decade during the 1950s to the 1960s. Sandra Schmirler’s team won the first ever gold medal in women’s curling in the winter Olympics 1998. Her death out of cancer was broadcast on national television and her funeral was attended by over 15,000 people.
Even though Canadian bonspiels offer cash prizes, there are very few full time professional curlers. Though a considerable portion of many a curler’s income is from curling but still most of them have a secondary vocation. Many Canadian housewives claim to be part time curlers. Curling still survives as a people’s sport having been returned to the winter Olympics in 1998 including men’s and women’s tournaments. It has not been in the official Olympic program since 1924.
The game demands a lot of strength, accuracy, strategy, skill, stamina and most of all, experience. Virtues like speed, accuracy, and strength of strategy are attained after long practices, making the average adult curler quiet older to his counterparts in other sports. However a lot of your talent is emerging, junior curling is a popular sport televised over national T.V.
Though curling has originated in Scotland, Canada has made it especially its own with its enthusiastic participation in and improvisation of the game.