Curling, also known as the roaring game, originated in Scotland. It was very popular there between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, and today Scotland houses the World Curling Federation. Curling is played on prepared ice. Two round archery-like targets or the house are embedded in this sheet of ice and two teams of four players each are involved. Teams are called rinks and captains are called skip.
The players are known as the lead, second, third, and skip. They generally play in that order. Each team tries to score with eight polished granite stones. These are called stones or rocks.
Other equipments are special curling shoes worn by the players and brooms or brushes used to sweep the stones. Curling games are called matches and each round of play is called an end. Most games consist of eight rounds, while some competitive curling matches have 10 ends. Friendly matches usually last six rounds.
The end of each end is to have the curling stones nearer the center of the target once all the stones have been thrown by both sides. Each team takes turns in throwing the stones. The final position of the stone is altered by brushing or sweeping the path before it.
After all the stones have been thrown in an end, scores are calculated and the play is reversed to the other house. The skip represents the team and determines the position to be taken by each player during the game. He also decides on the game strategy and holding the broom in the house. The rules do not state in which order the skip should play, and the skip has been known to throw second or third stones.
As the target of each team is to throw stones nearer to the center of the house, the maximum point a team can score is eight. This occurs rarely. Scores are lowered due to the strategies adopted during the game. This includes blocking or hitting stones to change their position and removing them. These strategies are known as bump and take out, respectively. The skip stands inside the house to direct the player throwing the stone, where to aim.
The other players of the team sweep before the stone. Once the stone has been thrown, players cannot touch it while it is moving. Therefore, sweeping is the only way to change its position. Curling is an official sport at the Winter Olympics, and is widely played in Canada, the United States, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, China, and Korea.
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