Of all the events featured in the Winter Olympics, perhaps none hold quite the intrigue that curling does.
From brooms to large stones gliding across the ice, curling is a near-foreign sport to the average American sports fan. On Saturday the Buffalo Curling Club held an open house to help familiarize Western New Yorkers with curling’s basic concepts.
“This is the first time that we are doing an open house. We really weren’t quite ready for people to come through this space before then. Going forward, how successful this was, I have a feeling we will end up doing another at some point. But today, for $5 people got to get out on the ice, they got to try sweeping. They got to learn how to slide and deliver a couple rocks,” said club president Danielle Buchbinder.
The event coincides with the U.S. men’s team winning a gold medal in this year’s Winter Olympic Games, in South Korea. Jim Plummer of Lackawanna attended and tried his hand at curling.
“It was very fun. I really enjoyed it. I think growing up in Buffalo you watch a lot of Canadian TV and you see it. You know, it’s on TV stations in Toronto, so it’s nice to be able to try it here in Buffalo,” Plummer said.
Around 300 people came to the event. Curling Club Board of Directors member James Ricci talked about his hope for the event.
“It has exceeded my expectations. I was not trying to have to high hopes, I wanted 100, 200 people to come through and appreciate the sport and it’s been an absolutely amazing turnout. I think having the U.S. men win last night, I really appreciate having everyone come out and help support after that,” said Ricci.
This was a first-time event for the club. Buchbinder said work is being done to help grow the organization, and they have begun a fundraising campaign to refurbish their facility, the former Buffalo China factory, on the city’s East Side.