By Rebecca Wallace ‘21. Ridley High School, Folsom, PA
Curling is an Olympic sport that many U.S. citizens have not seen played outside of the Olympic Games. This winter, that changes for some RHS students. Ridley high school has officially created a curling team.
Curling is a sport played on ice, where a team of four players try to slide a large stone (about 40 pounds) as close to their target as possible. Teams use brooms to smoothe the ice in front of the stone to get it to go farther. Players can also attempt to knock their opponent’s stone out of the target circle. They wear special shoes to easily glide along the ice.
Curling started in the 16th century in Scotland, although the first curling club was not started until the 19th century. Before rinks were made, people played on frozen lakes. It was featured in the 1924 Olympic Games, but was not an official Olympic sport until 1998. It is now featured every Olympic Winter Games. The United States has an Olympic Curling team, but has only won a bronze medal once in 2006. Canada tends to lead curling with 10 medals in curling, five being gold. Curling is quite popular in Canada, but not many people play in the U.S. So why create a curling team here at Ridley?
Mr. Tyrrell, the creator of the team, says he was told by student, Dan McGuire, that he could do play by plays on any sport. When Mr. Tyrrell asked if he could do curling, Dan told Mr. Tyrrell it was not possible because the school does not have a curling team. Mr. Tyrrell then responded with “we do now.”
“Getting the team started was actually quite easy and not as hard as I expected,” says Mr. Tyrrell. He began by talking to Mr. Signor, the athletic director, to get permission to start the team. Once he was granted permission, he had to find a curling rink to play. The team will be playing at the Philadelphia Curling Club in Paoli.
The next step has been to find players. Eighteen students showed up at the first meeting, but a couple players dropped out considering the costs of being on the team and traveling issues. It is not a huge problem though considering they only need four players on the team.
Although the curling team is considered a school sport, the team gets no funding from the school. Thankfully, the Philadelphia Curling Club can provide a stone and brooms for them. The only thing the players will need are soft soled shoes and warm clothing. Mr. Tyrrell also mentioned he has noticed professional curlers wearing “funky pants” while competing, so he has considered purchasing some for the team as well.
The sport is rare in our area, no other school in Delaware County has a team. Because of this, the team plans on competing against themselves and any curlers they can find. “It would be pretty awesome if other schools create teams in the future and we start a league,” says Mr. Tyrrell. The team had their first practice and it went well. The team struggled at first, considering they have never played before. “Pretty much everything was difficult” says student Dan McGuire.
“We walked on the ice completely clueless and within an hour we accomplished a lot,” says Mr. Tyrrell.
Although the team is official, the future of the team is unknown. Most of what will come out of the team is a mystery, but Mr. Tyrrell and the team look forward to the new experiences and fun that will come out of it. “It is either going to be a wild success or a major flop,” says Mr. Tyrrell. “Either way, we are going to have fun doing it.”