Olympics spur surge in interest in Kalamazoo Curling League

 

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – The Winter Olympics are in full swing and that brings a lot of attention to the winter games, including the sport of curling.

The Kalamazoo Curling League offers anyone the chance to learn how to glide those granite stones down the ice.

"It's a great sport and a very social sport, because you get to know the people that you are curling with,” says Marcus Gleaton, one of the founders of the club. "The Olympics comes, and it always brings more people out. We have a lot of Canadians that used to curl."

The Kalamazoo Curling League has been around since 1988, bringing people in from all over Michigan to learn the basics of the sport.

"The curl is (this): You put a turn on the rock, one way or another. That actually makes the rock curl the way that you turn it, and that is how it gets its name curling," said Gleaton.

Then there are those people with the brooms: "They're actually helping to melt the ice ever so slightly, so it makes the friction a little bit less so the rock will go a little bit further," says Gleaton.

For players, it’s all about the fun and challenge on the ice.

"Curling is a lot more strategic then people realize,” says Kristin Overhiser, who has been playing for 3 years. "It’s a really fun game to play. It's also really great because the winners have to buy the losers beer, so it’s a win-win situation.”

The granite stones weigh about 42 pounds and are rather pricey, costing about $1,000 each. But they can last for 40 to 50 years if they're cared for properly.

The Kalamazoo Curling League typically runs from October to March but is offering mini-league play into April this year on the heels of interest generated by the Olympics.

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