Curling is a sport that involves the sliding of stones down an ice surface known as a rink or sheet. Points are scored by being closest to the center of a group of four concentric circles. The origin of the game is unclear, but there is evidence of the game in northern Europe dating from the 16th century.
A curling rink should be 150 feet long and have a maximum width of 16 feet, 5 inches. If a facility is too small to hold rink(s) with these dimensions, a rink can be a minimum of 146 feet long and 14 feet, 6 inches wide. The perimeter of the rink can be marked by raised barriers or by lines drawn on the ice.
There must be two sets of three parallel lines, one set at each end of the rink, painted from sideline to sideline. From the exact center of the rink, travel 36 feet toward one end and mark the hog line. Travel 21 feet from the hog line and mark the tee line. Travel 6 feet from the tee line and mark the back line. Now, return to the center of the rink and repeat the process for the hog, tee and back lines at the opposite end the rink.
Two 1-foot, 6-inch long hack lines, one at each end, should be marked 69 feet from the center of the rink and parallel to each back line. Two hacks, small areas on the ice made of a material to help a shooter secure his footing, should be set at each hack line. These are no more than 6 inches wide and 3 inches apart.
A continuous center line should be marked running the length of the rink from the hack line at one end of the rink to the hack line at the other end. The center line should bisect the hog, tee and back lines at their mid-points.
A curling rink has two houses, one at each end of the rink, with sets of concentric circles that are used for scoring. At each end of the rink, a small hole should be drilled at the intersection of the tee line and center line and four circles should be painted using that hole as center point. The outer circle should have a radius of 6 feet, the second circle should have a radius of 4 feet, the third should have a radius of 2 feet and the innermost circle should have a radius of 6 inches. Traditionally, the space between the outer and second circles is painted blue, the space between the second and third circles is left white, the space between the third and inner circles is painted blue and the color of the center circle varies.
Curling stones are circular, with a circumference no greater than 36 inches, and a height of at least 4.5 inches. Stones must weigh between 38 and 44 pounds.
The ice should be sprinkled with warm water to create a pebbling effect. This pebbling allows the stones to curve, or curl, when thrown down the ice.
- Photo Credit Curling Rocks image by Nick Sunderland from Fotolia.com
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