The Norfolk Curling Club plans Olympic open house
Two years after the Norfolk Curling Club burned to the ground it is back open in time for the Sochi Winter Olympics, and club members hope its popularity will spike.
"We get tons of interest every four years," club member Jon Barbagallo said.
For curlers, the Olympics provides an opportunity to showcase a sport that is wildly popular in Canada and a bit more unusual south of the border.
"We hope that what it does is attract people to the sport," said curling club member Bill Brodnitzki. "People like to watch the sport. They get glued to the TV for two-and-a-half hours watching these stones going back and forth."
Brodnitzki started curling 35 years ago with his wife. They took a break to raise their four children and now they're back on the ice competing in leagues and, in Bill's case, teaching others how to curl.
The club has been in Norfolk since 1956. In Dec. 2011, the club's future was uncertain after arsonists torched the old ice shed. Two years later, it's back.
Even though the Olympics put curling in the spotlight, there are still detractors.
"I heard it on the radio the other day, 'How can they call that a sport?'" Brodnitzki said.
There's no question, however, that curling involves some strength and flexibility and a lot of thought. For most of the curlers in Norfolk the chance to compete in tournaments, known as bonspiels, or in weekend leagues is an opportunity to meet new people and have a good time.
And while some games can get heated, Brodnitzki describes curling as a game of politeness.
"You don't see many fights and you don't see any high checking."
Even for the best curlers, there's always something new to learn about the sport and about life.
"You learn a lot about a marriage when you curl with your wife," Brodnitzki joked.
If you'd like to check out curling for yourself, the Norfolk Curling Club will hold an Olympic open house on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 9 a.m. Members of the public can try their hand at curling for $10.