Dark Journey wrote:
I am a 40 year old man who prides himself on a long history of learning and knowing a little bit about everything. And I have no idea what Curling is about. Can someone please tell me what the hell they are doing!?
I'm a competitive curler, and yeah, it confuses a lot of people who have never played before. It's a mixture of skill and strategy. Two teams of four, each player throws two shots, with the ultimate goal being to get rocks of your colour closest to the centre of the rings on the far side of the sheet at the end of each end (round). Only the closest team gets points at the end - one point for each rock closer than the closest opponent rock. The team with the most point after 8 or 10 ends wins.
The purpose of sweeping is to (a) straighten the path of the rock/reduce the amount of curl, and (b) make it go farther. The friction heats the ice just enough to have that effect. I'm not a physicist so can't get too specific how effective it is, but it works.
It's a great social sport. Tradition is after a game you go up to the bar and the winning team buys drinks for the losing team. Most people are surprised by how fun the game is when they finally try it - it's a lot harder than it works, and sweeping is a surprisingly good workout.
That's the nutshell version. Watch a game on TV, you'll either enjoy it or be bored to tears, haha. The commentators are usually quite good at explaining the strategy of the game as it goes on.