CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - As just about anyone new to curling will tell you, it's not as easy as it looks.
"It looks so simple on TV," said Lyle Theisen of Anamosa. "I wanted to see how simple it really is, and it is difficult."
Theisen was joined by around 80 other people at the Cedar Rapids ice arena on Sunday morning, for an open house hosted by the Cedar Rapids Curling Club. The first thing that happens: newbies are split into groups.
"Once you get in a group, you meet and you do time out in the warming room and we walk you through ice safety, the basics of scoring," club secretary Kari Kozak explained.
Once they learn some of the lingo, it's onto the ice for some hands-on time with the brooms and polished granite stones.
"First you try it with two stones so you can get the method down, then we switch you to only one stone, then you actually do a full release with sweeping in front of you," said Kozak.
Curling is a game of nuance and small movements, revolving around huge 40-pound rocks.
Theisen said watching it and doing it are two entirely different things. "The sound effect and everything. It's a lot more interesting visualizing it and hearing it in real life."
Whether you're young or old, whether you're competitive or just want to have fun, curling offers accessibility, and that's part of its appeal.
The curling club's open houses have grown from the 40 or 50 people in attendance last September, "and now we've had over 300 show up in the last 2 weeks," Kozak told us.
Like a game of high-stakes shuffleboard, the ice, excitement, and teamwork all come together to create one cool experience.
"I didn't really know what to expect when I first came out," said Colin Bonnett of Iowa City. "My friends were like, 'hey let's go curling,' and I was like, 'sure,' but it's actually a lot more fun than I expected."
The Cedar Rapids Curling Club will host two mini-camps on March 14th and 21st, with Spring League play starting up on the 28th. You can find more information at www.cedarrapidscurling.com.