Cool Curlings

Brazilians come together and socialize through curling.

by Christian Pedersen
translated by Loretta Murphy

Indignação despertou em Luciana Barrella a curiosidade em saber mais sobre este esporte totalmente esquisito. Crédito: Brazilian Curling Club
Luciana Barrella – Photo: Brazilian Curling Club

When Luciana Barrella, a veterinary technician from Manaus, Amazonas, attended a game of curling for the first time during the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, she got a little upset because she didn’t believe that it could be an Olympic sport. “How could people with brooms ‘cleaning’ the ice be competing for medals that were as important as ice skating where, for example, the athlete needs both preparation and training?” questioned the Brazilian, who has been residing in Vancouver for six years.

This outrage sparked curiosity in Luciana to find out more about this totally weird sport. She started to follow the games and liked the sport so much that she ended up putting together a Brazilian team. “Curling has been one of the best discoveries I have made in Canada. This is an extremely inclusive and social sport, which helped me a lot in my adaptation to the country and transformed the winter, a period that can be quite difficult, into something very pleasurable,” tells the athlete.

Sweeping and spinning

Curling is an Olympic team sport practiced on an ice rink. The objective is to bring granite stones as close as possible to a target, with the help of brooms. The sport’s name comes from the English verb “to curl” which means “to spin” and is due to the fact that the stones are slightly rotated at the time of the launch, forming a parabola over its course.

Developed by the sixteenth century in Scotland, the sport had its first rules drawn up in 1838. It was disseminated worldwide by Scottish immigrants and today, curling is mainly practiced in Canada.

Brazilians come together and socialize through curling

O paulista Márcio TM Rodrigues.
Márcio TM Rodrigues – Photo: Brazilian Curling Club

Currently there are Brazilians practicing the sport in Edmonton (Alberta), Ottawa (Ontario), Vancouver (British Columbia), Sherbrooke (Quebec) and in the Yukon. Outside Canada, there are Brazilians practicing even in Switzerland.

In Sherbrooke, in 2009, four men put together a team and until then, were the only Brazilians practicing curling. They eventually formed the Brazilian male team.

In Vancouver, it all started when Raphael Monticello, who curled with Canadians, posted an event that was happening at a local club on Facebook. “A lot of Brazilians went, including me,” says Márcio TM Rodrigues, of the Brazilian Curling Club. “It was so successful that we organized regular classes and began to participate in curling clubs throughout the city.”

The idea was to keep the group together and focused in order to learn curling. “Apparently it’s working because we are already in our third season. We set up a women’s team with girls from Vancouver, a mixed one with the people from Quebec and Switzerland, and we are now organizing a junior team to represent Brazil in the Winter Youth Olympics in 2016 in Norway,” says Márcio, a Sound Engineer. Getting involved in curling was a watershed for him. “I learn more and more every time I play; about my limits, teamwork, respect and how to deal with successes and failures. I expanded my group of friends and I keep expanding it with every championship and each league, since it is a custom to sit at a table in the lounge with the other team after the game and share a pitcher of beer. ”

Daniel Mermelstein e Alessandra Regina
Daniel Mermelstein e Alessandra Regina – Photo: Brazilian Curling Club

With respect to the Canadians and other Brazilians practicing curling, Luciana says people are always very surprised and think it’s not serious, “I always make the same joke, saying that we are like the bobsled team from the movie “Cool Runnings” but then the reaction is the same, Brazilians and Canadians love the idea, and are super supportive.”

More info at Brazilian Curling Club.