WILKES-BARRE – Take a seat hockey moms, here comes a curling dad.
At least for one Saturday night anyway.
John Delamater and his 12-year-old daughter Lauren took to the ice to try out the sport most people only get to see when the Winter Olympics come around. They were part of a group of approximately 30 people who learned the basics with the help of members of the Anthracite Curling Club at The Ice Rink on Coal Street.
Stones, brooms, hacks and sliders were provided for the two-hour lesson. All the students had to do was pay $15 each and have fun.
It's actually pretty straightforward, said Delamater of Shavertown.
He braced one foot against the hack as if he were fitting it into a starting block, and pushed off. With one knee bent in front of him and his other leg outstretched and trailing behind him he glided across the ice with the aid of Teflon slider pad under his foot and released his grip from the handle of the polished 42-pound, round granite stone, sending it toward the opposite end of the rink. His daughter mimicked the motion when it was her turn.
Club President Joshua Sophy of Pottsville learned the same way in 2010 and joined. The club has a league of six teams and he said he hoped some of the people at the lesson signed up for the winter league beginning Dec. 22.
It really is for anybody, Sophy said.
Jennifer Wasilewski of Wilkes-Barre said her fiancé, Corey Lobb, always wanted to learn, so she gave him the lesson as a birthday present.
It's awkward at first, she said, but it gets easier with repetition.
I play hockey. This is nothing like it, added Lobb of Wilkes-Barre. It's fun.
Growing up in Buffalo, Dave Cawley watched the sport on Canadian television. ABC had bowling. CBC had curling, he said.
Cawley, who lives in Scranton, started the Scranton Curling Club, predecessor of the Anthracite Curling Club, in 2006 after he and others learned the game at a one-day training camp in Philadelphia. We got taught how to do it by a guy who was 85, he said.
The club's first meeting at the former Ice Box rink in Jenkins Township attracted 19 people.
Cawley shared his knowledge and love of the sport during the session.
The brooms, with pads instead of bristles, are used to sweep the ice in front of the stone to reduce friction, he explained. They also provide balance when pushing off the hack. The stones are slid toward a series of concentric circles called the house. The player with the stone closer to the button or the center of the house than the opposing player is the winner. One point is awarded for each rock closer to the button than the opponent's closest rock.
Just one of the 16 stones delivered in the frame or end touched the outermost ring of the house and it didn't belong to the team Amy Turrizianni of Kingston was on.
All right, it's in, she said and conceded a point.
To learn more about the game or join the league visit anthracitecurling.com or call 570 266-7978.