Elementary school kids get a lesson on the sport of curling

ERIC VOORHIS, News Staff Writer - 11/18/2010

LAKE PLACID — If you thought the sport of curling could only be enjoyed over a sheet of ice, you’re wrong.

On Tuesday the Lake Placid Curling Club visited the Lake Placid Elementary School to give a demonstration of the Olympic sport using 30-pound, “dry-land curling simulators” — essentially curling stones on wheels —in the gymnasium.

“Curling is something you actually have the opportunity to do outside of school,” said physical education teacher Matt Young to a fifth-grade class. “Do you think you’re lucky to have this opportunity?”

A fifth grade student tests out a curling stone simulator in the Lake Placid Elementary School gym.A fifth grade student tests out a curling stone simulator in the Lake Placid Elementary School gym.

“Yes,” the class yelled back in unison as president of the curling club Amber McKernan took the floor.

“It’s an easy sport to teach, it’s very simple in concept,” she said earlier. “I can usually teach the fundamentals of the game in less than an hour.”

McKernan didn’t have quite so long on Tuesday, but after giving a brief demonstration and a crash course about “sweeping” — which is done primarily to reduce friction under the stone — the kids were off and curling.

“They get really into this,” Young said on the sidelines. “It’s just another unique way for these kids to be active.”

McKernan set up a target (or “house,” to use the proper terminology) and, along with Lake Placid Curling Club member Gina Jadwisiak, guided the students through a match.

According to McKernan the game of curling is one of “skill and tradition.”

“It’s incredibly cordial,” she said. “Good sportsmanship is a big part of it.”

The Lake Placid Curling Club, which recently received a 501(c)3 status, meets every Sunday at the USA rink in the Olympic Center at 7 p.m. Although most sessions are only open to members the Curling Club has open sessions for the public. The next scheduled open curling is on Nov. 28, and the club asks for a donation of $20.

If the shouts and screams of an elementary school class are any indication, it could be a good time.

“We’re really trying to get the club to appeal to a younger crowed,” McKernan said. “Trying to break the image that it’s a sport for old people.”

For more information about the club, call Amber at 518-327-3223.

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