Stone Cold Competitors
Rock in the House
A handshake is a common occurrence at Falmouth’s Cape Cod Curling Club (CCCC), marking the beginning and end of every match. Rarely in other sports does such a cordial expression happen among the entire team before the start of every game and at its conclusion. The winter sport of curling has exploded in popularity in recent years, enjoyed and participated in by both men and women. Since being added to the official Olympic lineup in 1998, the game has boasted a number of players and fans from across the world. The Cape Cod Curling Club is the region’s premier connection to the sport and is dedicated to curling education as well as the game’s development.
2019 marks the club’s 50th anniversary and it has certainly come a long way since its humble origins, founded by a curious Dr. Dave Dewees, a Falmouth resident, and several interested companions in 1969. With many of the members having no background in curling, the Cape Cod club was often outmatched by its more established competition. But regardless of what the scoreboard may have read, Dewees and his quickly growing crew encountered camaraderie and encouragement from every corner of the curling world.
CCCC soon joined the largest regional curling association, the Grand National Curling Club of America, (under the national governing body of the United States Curling Association) and has the notable distinction of being the first member club to send female representatives to the national meeting. A dedicated curling space was constructed in Falmouth in 1975, which came under the club’s ownership in 1979. The CCCC facility and some members also have the honor of being involved with the official U.S. Curling Association orientation and training video.
Understanding the curious sport is easy once you explore some basic principles. Curling consists of two teams of four players on a narrow ‘pitch’ of ice 150 feet in length. Teams and players alternate ‘curling,’ a form of sliding, 45-pound, specially carved, granite stones with handles, down the ice to a ‘house’, a 12-foot circular target comprised of a blue, white and red layers. Points are awarded based on the closest distance to the house’s center, the innermost circle. While one team member curls the rock down the ice, their teammates can help guide its path by sweeping in front of the rock with a broom. The broom’s sweeping motion affects the trajectory of the rock on the ice. Each of the team’s four players throw two rocks every “end,” similar to an inning in baseball. The number of ends in a game varies by level, often eight or ten.
Exploring The Club
Although generally regarded as a winter activity, CCCC hosts a major summer event, the July Bonspiels. The bonspiels, or curling tournaments, have events for men, women, men and women combined, junior and wheelchair curlers. The club’s July bonspiels are the oldest and largest off-season curling event in the world. This summer event attracts national and international athletes who come to stay for a week on the Cape. Another large, popular annual event hosted by the club is Thanksgiving morning’s Great Gobble Spiel. In addition, at several points in its history, the club has held large, nationally-sponsored curling events attracting top talent. Those interested in witnessing curling, but unable to make it to Falmouth, can watch the club’s major events online via livestream available on the club’s website.
The club has always put education first and prides itself on offering open houses and classes that are a resource to anyone interested in the sport. This emphasis on education and learning derives from the club’s earliest days when it was the larger curling community that helped the members of the fledgling Cape Cod club learn the basic skills they needed to play the game. As a result, CCCC has always put helping others at the forefront of its mission. A five-session introductory program teaches prospective curlers both the physical gameplay of the sport along with its history, tradition and etiquette. CCCC President Mike Minior states that “education is one of the club’s founding principles.” At a cost to the club (equipment, time and student transportation), a curling curriculum has been implemented into local schools’ fourth-grade physical education programs including neighboring Falmouth Academy. Club members have volunteered to go to schools and facilities in addition to teaching students on the club’s own ice. This emphasis on education has allowed the club to operate as a not-for-profit charitable organization since 1970.
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