For most people, curling is a sport that only takes place during the Winter Olympics—or in Canada. But not for DSC member Matt Galas, the co-founder of the Windy City Curling Club. Since April, Matt’s been hard at work in the Chicago-area getting people hooked on the game many consider chess on ice.
Q: When did curling first pique your interest?
A: During the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. My brother and I used to watch replays of curling matches when they were on at 3 a.m.—the perfect time for college kids coming home from the bar. We decided we had to try it. We found a curling club about 90 minutes away, and about 20 of us went there for a lesson. Talk about love at first sight! Later on, we decided to start our own club so we didn’t have to drive so far. That’s how Windy City Curling was born.
Q: What’s gameday like for the Windy City Curlers?
A: We curl one night a week—Thursdays. In curling, you typically “broomstack” afterward, but we do it beforehand. Broomstacking is a curling tradition where you socialize with the other team over food and drinks.
Q: C’mon, let’s get serious: Why not hockey?
A: Curling is unique and offers me something I can play for a long time. I’ve curled against guys in their 80s, and lost to them.
Q: When you tell people you are a curler what is their typical reaction?
A: “That weird ice-sweeping game on ice I saw on the Olympics?”
Q: What does all that sweeping do?
A: Ah, the sweeping. Honestly, it’s one of the most important parts of the game. There are two reasons to sweep: To reduce the curl so you can come around a guard and to make the stone go farther. A pair of good sweepers can make a shot go an extra 12 feet or more.
Q: How long would it take a first-timer to learn how to curl?
A: It takes minutes to learn, but a lifetime to master. If you’re interested in learning how to play, and live somewhere cold, don’t hesitate—your local club will welcome you as well as take care of you. And if they don’t, e-mail me and I’ll take care of them for you.
Q: What’s next for you (and Windy City Curling)?
A: We just kicked off our fundraising campaign to help build the future of Windy City Curling. We currently rent ice time from Rocket Ice Arena—and they are great—but in order for us to grow, we need our own space.
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