Curling is a sport with many rules that (nearly) all curlers follow. Some are universal, whereas others vary from region to region, or club to club. Here are some things that you should be aware of.
- Shake hands with your teammates and opponents before or after every game and wish them “good curling.”
- Never distract your opponents.
- Be off to the sides of the sheet and out of the way when the other team is delivering.
- If you are in the house or behind the house, stand still and hold your broom horizontally when the other team is delivering.
- Play reasonably quickly.
- Arrive and be ready to curl on time.
- Be ready to throw when it is your turn.
- Stay out of the house if you are not the skip or vice (exceptions can be made to this rule in league play on occasion).
- Vices are responsible for agreeing on the score. Everyone else should be out of the house.
- If there is a measurement, the vices are responsible.
- The vice of the scoring team generally hangs the points on the scoreboard for that end.
- Take responsibility for keeping the ice in the best possible condition.
- Sweep debris off the ice.
- Never clean a dirty broom on the ice. Leave the ice area to do this.
- Keep your hands, knees, and other body parts off the ice surface when possible. Hands and knees melt the ice and leave indentations, which can affect shots.
- Thrown the rocks in order. This is not a rule, but it ensures that each player delivers the same two rocks each end.
- Clean the running surface of the rocks before delivering. Use your hand – not a dirty broom head.
- Socialize with the other team in the lounge after the game when possible.
- Sit at a table with your teammates and your opponents – generally this should be the table that is closest to the sheet you played on.
- The norm is that the winning team buys a round of drinks for the losing team, and the losing team buys the second round
At BGCC, the vices flip a coin to determine which team gets the last rock in the first end. In some regions, this is done by the leads. At competitive events, this is often determined by a pre-game draw to the button.
Time does not allow for pre-game practice. However, many curlers do take a practice slide immediately before the game. If you choose to do this, slide without a rock and quickly move out of the path so others may slide.
The norm at BGCC used to be that curlers would “pull” rocks for their opponents. For example, the red lead would find the blue lead’s rock and set it near the hack before delivering his or her own rock. This was considered to be a courtesy, but most club members no longer do this.
The rules for breaking ties are set by the drawmasters. At BGCC, this is usually a draw-to-the-button by one member of each team. You may sweep your own team’s rock, but not your opponent’s. The first team’s rock is removed before the second team delivers. Closest to the button (and in the house) wins.
There are alternatives: A league could play a 4-rock end in which each player delivers one rock instead of two rocks. A full extra end could be played. (This is how ties are broken in competitive events.) Generally, time does not permit this, but it might be used for a league championship game.
Shaking Hands Early
The team that is behind always has the right to concede the game. This is done when the skip decides to shake hands with the opponents because he or she does not believe the team can realistically come back and win the game. This happens quite often at all levels of curling from league games to the Olympics. The decision always belongs to the trailing team, and there is nothing wrong with completing a game just for practice in most circumstances.
There are a few exceptions: Some bonspiels are “points” bonspiels and may require all ends to be completed. It would be discourteous to continue a game that cannot be realistically won if you were participating in an event that was running behind schedule or if you know that the other team must play more games in a short period of time and could use the break. Lastly, hand shakes are expected as soon as a team has been mathematically eliminated. Thus, if you fewer stones either in play or left to deliver than are needed to at least tie the game, the game should end without the remaining rocks being played (unless both teams agree to continue).