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Get a leg up on pop-up curling

A quick primer on the winter-friendly sport before a weekend meetup.

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Teresa Kruisselbrink laughs after throwing a stone while curling during a pop-up curling event hosted by the Curling Club of Rochester on Saturday, January 23, 2021, at Little Thistle Brewing in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

There’s no better way to take advantage of suddenly-above-zero temperatures than pop-up curling. And the stones hit the ice Friday and Saturday at Little Thistle, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Curling Club of Rochester .

Though the sport can confuse newbies — to be fair, any jargon-filled activity paired with brooms probably would — we’ve compiled a quick guide to give you a leg up.

Related: Curling at Little Thistle helps heat interest in sport

1. Scoring

It’s simple: Slide your stones into the button (bull’s-eye), and try to get the closest to the middle.

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Each curling team gets eight tries to throw their stones into the concentric circles. At the end of the 16 stone throws, whichever team has the closest stone to the button gets a point. That team gets another point for any stone that’s inside the closest opponents’ stone.

Only one team can score at the end of the 16 throws, which means a team could score anywhere between 1 (likely) and 8 points (astronomically unlikely, unless you’re a team of adults playing a team of toddlers).

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Kyle Dubiak of Rochester, a first-time curler, throws a stone during a pop-up curling event hosted by the Curling Club of Rochester on Saturday, January 23, 2021, at Little Thistle Brewing in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)

2. Sweeping

While one teammate throws, the others use their brooms to sweep the ice in front of the stone. That decreases the friction between the stone and the chipped ice, which makes it travel straighter and farther.

3. Throwing stones

There are actually three possible moves here — you can obviously aim for the bull’s-eye and try to score. But other strategies include throwing a block to keep the other team’s stones from reaching the center (or your winning stone), or knocking the opponents’ rock out of scoring position. Aim carefully.

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4. Roles

Traditionally, curling involves two teams of four, in which everyone throws two stones. So be ready to sweep AND throw.

If you go

What: Pop-Up Curling

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19-20

Where: Little Thistle Brewing, 2031 14th St. NW, Rochester

Cost: Free; sign up at calendly.com/curlrochester/pop-up-curling-2-19-2-20 .

Related Topics: CURLING
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