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    Bit to Do

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    I should have worn thicker socks. It’s a Thursday in early December, and about 30 participants have packed into a party room next to the rink at Alpine Ice Arena on Gardiner Lane, including two who drove from Frankfort. Instructors carry plastic backpacks full of sloshing water, which they spray on the ice to create pebbles — tiny frozen droplets that help the stones glide better.

    Bethaney Curry and her husband Brett got the idea to start the Derby City Curling Club after the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, during which they stayed up until 4 in the morning to watch the screaming, the brushing, the sliding stones — and Team USA win gold. “Kentucky was one of three states that didn’t have a curling club, so why not start my own?” Bethaney says. There’s certainly interest — every Learn to Curl session through the end of February is sold out. (The two-hour, $40 classes end in March, when the arena closes for the season.)

    For curling, you speed-walk down the ice, brushing a smooth path for a 42-pound stone, hoping for it to slide inside a target’s bull’s-eye. It’s like bowling-sized shuffleboard on ice. The first lesson is learning to glide the stone. You push off with your dominant foot and sail forward with your slider foot leading the way, almost like a hunchback version of warrior pose.

    We split into teams. There’s lots of yelling. Calls of Sweep! Hard! Clean! resound from the inexperienced team captains, as the sweepers try to maintain balance while rushing in front of stones. Sweeping is the only time I don’t feel cold while curling.

    My attempts at stone releases fall too short of the target. Or I’m overzealous and they slip beyond it. The opposing team — curling fanatics who found the class on Facebook — is better, their key player launching the stone just right. It curves seven feet from the edge of the lane and nearly lands on the bull’s-eye.

    This originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline "Cold Stone Strategy." To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photos by Joon Kim,

    Jennifer Kiefer's picture

    About Jennifer Kiefer

    Germantown transplant. Louisville native.

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