Bowling's coolest cousin: Curling


Replace the lanes with ice, squash the ball a bit and take the whole thing outside and curling is actually pretty similar to bowling.

And for a sport that all started with a few jokers throwing stones over ice to pass the time, it's a pretty cool activity and one well worth watching when it takes to the international stage at the Winter Olympics in Sochi this year.

The round robins have already begun, and the main events will come to a head on February 20 for the women's league finals and on February 21 for the men's finals.

Four players on each team take to the ice to play another team. The goal is to deliver a 19.96kg stone (yes it's an odd number, but it's easier than if you think of it as 44 pounds) into the target area, known as the 'house'. Like lawn bowls, the athletes aim to get their stone closer to the centre of the target than the stones from their competition.

Each match is made up of 10 rounds of throws, or 'ends'. This means a team can have one or several stones closest to the target in each round and can therefore get one or several points in each round.

A good team spirit is as important in curling as it is in team bowling. The 'lead' throws first, followed by the 'second', then the 'third' (also known as the vice-skip) and finally the captain of the team, the 'skip'. One of the coolest parts of the game - other than the ice, obviously - is that when one team member is throwing, two other team members can sweep the ice to influence the stone as it skids along.

To really get into the spirit of the game, put on all your winter gear and have a winter-themed play offs at your local ZONE BOWLING alley - medals for the winners, of course.