Which rests vampire like in the popular consciousness for 4 years and
then explodes on the moonbeam of publicity that the winter Olympics brings.
All of a sudden the media is full of "houses", "Skips" "Stones" and "Ends"
However as my chat with the bold Mr Duffbert illustrated most people are
almost entirely ignorant of the noble game of Curling.
Curling was invented by the Scots, why it was invented is lost in the Myst's
of time, however any story you hear about the accidental tossing of a stone
pie case at a annoying child by old mother Kurl is a entirely the invention
of Alan Lepofsky.
The first recorded mention of Curling is in 1006 BCE in the Annals of Laird
Hector of Upurchufftery where he writes "I dinnea ken wut all the fash is a boot
yon was nay a burned stone in da sixeth end"
Twas at the 3rd synod of Niwanbyrig in the winter of 1232 BCE that codified the
rules of the game that would eventually become Curling. Initially it was called
"Fox's hat". It is said this was because the rings at each end looked a fox's hat
It has to be remembered that around this time there was a plague of foxes in the
lowlands of Scotland so King Ourwilie III decreed that all foxes should be caught
and made to wear a hat to give Scottish chickens a fighting chance.
It is recorded that this name fell out of favour after the priests complained to
the Pope about the skip's screams of "Where in the Fox's Hat?" during morning mass
on Sundays. Most of these priests were French and they misheard these screams and
rather than the polite enquiry the skip was making as to the placement within the
rings the priests heard an exhortation of disgust after a particularly bad shot.
The Niwanbyrig synod also made it a requirement for all players to be naked under
the playing kilt. This was to ensure that their ... errr.. dangley bits dragged on
the ice, thus making it much harder to be accurate. Dragging ones dangley bits on
ice is quite difficult and can only be achieved by getting really really low and
arranging ones legs in the now well known "curling crouch".
Scottish men then as now were usually gifted with a covering of coarse matted hair
the name "Curling" comes from the side effect upon the public hair of dangling
ones family jewels on the ice of the moat in mid winter.
Needless to say the longer you slid the longer your bits were in contact with the
ice. The best players could stay down for a long time and where known as "Hard Men"
hence the now traditional yells of the curler who manages more than 10 feet of
"HARD! HARD! HARD!" in doing so they are strutting their stuff and drawing attention
to the fact that they can stand the deleterious effects of the cold.
The brushing in front of the stone is to ensure that non of the previous opposition
players accidentally or deliberately dropped any pubic hair on the ice during their last throw. It is said the now legendary "Big Hard Mac" McMagillicuddy could shed his coarsest
scrotal hairs merely by thinking of his cousins prize pig Matilda. Which incidentally
is the reason the two black lines before which the stone must be released is called
he "hog" line.
Talking of lines .. the HACK is the starting block from which a curler pushes himself
off when taking a shot. It is called a HACK after the noise a curler makes when his
"bits" first touch the ice when the full crouch is assumed by the player.
It is not that uncommon to hear the word "tight" mentioned .. this comes from the
involuntary reaction of the body when bits are exposed to minus temperatures.. the
stone is "tight" when the thrower cannot suppress this reaction and tenses as he
I hope you enjoyed this historical introduction to the noble art of curling
Keep your brushes well stacked and your stones clean until the next time!