For the first time in 11 months, the Fairbanks Curling Club got together Saturday to put some stones in houses.
It was a lot better than it sounds.
The club, which has been in existence since 1905, stopped holding events at their Second Avenue clubhouse in March of last year as COVID-19 became a health issue in the Interior.
Members of the club and the assortment of teams that play at the clubhouse have been eager to get on some ice ever since this year’s season started but to no avail because of the pandemic.
But, with the CDC’s long-held guidelines that the risk of outdoor transmission of COVID-19 is negligible and the promise of warmer temperatures on Saturday — a balmy 10 degrees Fahrenheit — the club decided to host outdoor curling.
People gathered at Ester Community Park with their brooms and braces and their ubiquitous face masks, all looking to bring a stone home.
Curling originated in Scotland and carries a unique charm and appeal.
The purpose of curling is simple: take a polished granite stone that weighs almost 90 pounds and resembles a teakettle, and slide it down a “sheet” of ice about 150 feet long.
The goal is to have it land as close as you can to an “X” marked inside a set of circles known as a “house.” If your “rock” hits the other team’s “rock” out of the circles, even better. Then you get to watch the other team jump up and down in frustration. The team with the most points wins.
The game is easy to describe but not so much to play.
The finesse is a large part of the appeal of curling, as is the contention that in curling, having luck is sometimes better than having skill.
During game play, Tyler Skaggs, a student at Hutchison High School, landed a beautiful shot where he knocked the other team’s rock out of the house and left his own rock about 6 inches from dead center in the house.
It was the last shot in the game and turned his team from losing to wining.
A league member at the club, Skaggs said the game is a laid-back sport to play during winter, but it takes strategy and finesse.
“It’s a fun little sport I like to play with my friends,” he said.
Elias Vargas, a teammate and also a student at Hutchison High School, said curling is a great way to hang out with his friends.
“Even if you lose or win you always have a good time,” he said.
Contact staff writer Will Morris at 459-7582.