Curling: A Most Social Game: The Pulse of the Planet daily radio program offers free legal online mp3 downloads, exploring the world of sound in nature, culture and science, with audio adventures, world music, extraordinary sound portraits, science diaries, and nature ring-tones; an amazing sonic experience.

Airdate: Oct 06, 2006
Scientist: Geoffrey Broadhurst (away until Nov. 26)

Curling: A Most Social Game

Curling: A Most Social Game
The skillful game of curling calls for a high level of sporting etiquette.


ambience: general curling sounds, sweeping

Curling is a sport that merges teamwork, skill, and strategy and conscience. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Teams take turns whisking granite stones across an icy rink, aiming for a painted bullseye. In the process, curlers also try to knock their opponents' stones out of the target area, just like in shuffleboard or bocci. But unlike most competitive games, the players will tell you, there's more to curling than just scoring points. Peter Murphy is with the Ardsley Curling Club in New York.

"There is an etiquette that completely overlays the game. There’s a tremendously competitive aspect to the game, but one of the first things that happens before you begin a game, is that you exchange pleasantries. You say, “Good game, good curling” and you introduce yourself..."

ambience: players exchanging, "good curling"

"And then, you go through the heat of action, but remembering that, if you do commit a foul, you’re the only one that can call it on yourself. So, there is really always that concern that you are doing right. And following a game, everybody walks over and shakes hands and congratulates. And then when you adjourn to the warm room, which is the area where the players sit around and have a drink and talk about their great shots and their bad shots, the tradition is that the winners buy the losers the first round. The one thing that I have found is that the people who end up staying involved in this sport are people who enjoy both sides of the game. On the other side of the glass, when the competition is tough and when the shots are being made, and then after the game, when we adjourn to the warm room, they enjoy discussing what the game was about."

There are curling clubs throughout the United States. This time of year the season is just getting under way.

Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.