This sport is pretty chill.
You can try your hand at the popular Olympic sport known as curling at the Lefrak Center in Prospect Park this winter! Every four years, fans go crazy over the calm yet compelling game that sends heavy rocks hurling down the ice like a chilly game of shuffleboard, said the president of Brooklyn Lakeside Curling Club, who leads weekly classes during February and March.
“People are surprised at the popularity of curling during the Olympics, and every time people find themselves compulsively watching Olympic curling on television,” said Charles Donefer. “Something about the way it’s televised that goes back and forth between extreme excitement and relaxation.”
The curling club has been around for five years, and last year received a spike in sign-ups after the United States men’s curling team took home gold, said Donefer.
“Last year we received an awful lot of interest, which continued into this year perhaps because we had so many [classes sell out],” he said. “And it did not hurt that the American team won gold for the first time ever, they are minor celebrities at this point.”
During his 90-minute introductory classes, Donefer teaches students everything they need to know to play the game, including how to “deliver the stone,” and the strategy and technique behind sweeping — using brooms to determine how far the 42-pound chunk of granite will travel. But the course is just the beginning, said the instructor.
“You’ll try out all the basic moves and understand the pacing and rhythm of a game, however, this is one of those sports where the better you get, the more there is to learn,” he said.
First-timers just need to dress warmly and wear rubber-soled shoes — the $65 fee provides all the equipment curlers will need for a game, along with a free beer at the end for those over 21, said Donefer.
Those who complete the class — or who already know how to curl — can register for $25 pick-up games on Sundays and Wednesdays at the club’s website. Would-be curling kings must be at least 15 years old to hop on the ice, but people of all skill levels are welcome to join, said Donefer.
“We have a wide range of skill sets in our league. We’re very welcoming to beginners, and if you’re not of Olympic caliber you’ll fit in just fine,” he said. “We have all ages, from right out of college to over 70.”
Take a curling class at LeFrak Center at Lakeside (171 E. Drive in Prospect Park, enter on Ocean Avenue between Parkside Avenue and Lincoln Road, www.brook