A Face In The Crowd 

Despite the fact that curling is one of the oldest games in the world, dating to the 1600s in Scotland and possibly before, it’s only been included in the last two Olympics. There’s, ahem, a reason for that. Canada’s most popular sport—yes, even more entrenched than hockey—involves sliding 42-pound granite stones down a sheet of ice and controlling their speed and direction by sweeping brooms in front of them, the goal being for each four-person team to get its stones closest to the targets at the other end. Even its most loyal players say it makes golf look extreme. But, says Sean Gerster, an Ontario native who’s just begun the Nashville Curling Club, “When you’re playing the game, it’s anything but boring.” He says it may not involve much action or be a popular spectator sport, but there’s plenty of strategy going on. Astonishingly enough, even though Gerster says there are probably only about four people in Nashville who have ever played it, some 60 people showed up at the Centennial Sportsplex recently for the new club’s first session. “You don’t have to have a lot of athletic ability,” Gerster says. “It’s a sport anybody can play from about the age of 4 to—I had somebody who was 82 playing.” Gerster, who plays with a semi-pro league in Michigan that keeps him traveling a good bit, hopes the Nashville Curling Club eventually takes off and can have a home of its own, rather than buying ice time from the city. Right now, the club meets at Centennial at 9:30 p.m. on Sundays and has equipment for newcomers to use. (The stones had to be imported from Saskatchewan.) Gerster (who can be reached at 496-5444) cites what’s happening south of here as a hopeful sign. The club in Tampa, Fla.—much further from the Canadian border, mind you, than Nashville—just started last summer and has 125 members. Of course, an ice rink sounds pretty good on an August day in Florida.

—By Liz Murray Garrigan

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