WAUWATOSA (WITI) -- The sport of curling has been around forever. It has a great history in Wisconsin, and it's having a lasting impact on many lives.
"So much strategy I call it chess on ice," Allen Miller said.
Curling is a sport that originated in the 16th Century in Scotland. It started in Wauwatosa in the early 1990s. It is played with stones made of granite, and there's a broom and cool shoes.
Players slide the stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric circles. Two teams, each of four players, take turns sliding the stones, also called rocks, across the ice curling sheet towards the house, a circular target marked on the ice. Each team has eight stones. The purpose is to accumulate the highest score for a game. Points are scored for the stones resting closest to the center of the house at the conclusion of each end, which is completed when both teams have thrown all of their stones. A game may consist of ten or eight ends.
The curler can induce a curved path by causing the stone to slowly turn as it slides, and the path of the rock may be further influenced by two sweepers with brooms who accompany it as it slides down the sheet, using the brooms to alter the state of the ice in front of the stone. A great deal of strategy and teamwork go into choosing the ideal path and placement of a stone for each situation, and the skills of the curlers determine how close to the desired result the stone will achieve.
"I think it's the social aspect really. You curl against a team of four. All eight people curl together. You go downstairs. You have a few beverages, snacks and food -- talk about everything and anything," Dave Traut said.
"All ages curl. we have a youth training program and they curl in bonspiels (curling tournaments) around the Milwaukee area and we have a college program. We love to get people started. That's part of the social aspect of it. We have members up into their 80s. Almost anybody can play the game. People look at it and go 'I can't get into it because I can't bend my knees or I can't bend my back that way.' Well, you can throw it with a stick -- so it's like shuffleboard with a stick, so it's a very easy game to play," Dave McCoi said.
Dave Traut says a particular tournament that was held recently is very close to his heart.
"I came up with an idea to have a bonspiel this year that basically is a fundraising benefit for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I lost my aunt a little over two-and-a-half years ago. If I can combine that research with my love for curling, I can't think of a better way to do it. Since she was an active woman, she'd probably have a little bit of a concern that I'm making a fuss over her but she'd appreciate it all the same," Traut said.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Wauwatosa Curling Club.