We have come a long way since opening a short time ago. Teams are starting to pick up on the game and are asking lots of great questions. We are going to try to put a term of the week up so new teams can keep learning more about the rules and etiquette of curling.
A few things that have come up:
I have been getting lots of emails in about the step-on sliders. These sliders are unique to our facility and are provided as a convenience as we understand there are still lots of new curlers that are trying the game for the first time and haven't purchased shoes or a slider yet. Many of the teams are getting frustrated with the sliders flying all over the place. It is a distraction for one, but also a safety hazard. When delivering your rock, step off the slider, pick it up and walk it back to the walkway behind the sheet. Do not kick the slider back as it has been ending up on the other sheet. These should also not be left on the ice behind the hacks. These sliders are not common to curling, therefore people aren't used to looking for them before stepping on the ice. We don't want people to fall and get hurt.
Situational awareness: Always know your place on the ice. When your team is throwing, you have control of the sheet. The other team should be CLEAR of your path down the ice and not distracting the thrower (skips and/or vice skips motionless in the house). Only the skip and vice skip are allowed in the house when the other team is throwing. The lead and second should be between the hoglines on the sideline so they are not in the way of the other team.
Protect the hacks and watch where your rocks are going: Don't let rocks hit the hacks. Skips should be protecting the hacks and sweepers should be stopping rocks as they hit the sidelines so they don't go into a neighboring sheet and affect their game.
Hogline: It's there for a couple reasons. When you throw your rock, it has to get 100% across the far hogline. (If a rock is just barely over the far hogline, and other rock hits it and doesn't cross completely over, that rock stays because it hit a rock that was in play.) The other reason it is there is to let the person delivering the rock know that they have to get rid of it soon. You can't cross the hogline with the rock in your hand. This is a hogline violation and in competition this rock would be removed from play. A friendly reminder by the other team should be all it takes to remedy the situation.
Pace of play: Last season, the pace of play was great. There was hardly an issue with finishing a game on time. This season, not so much. When the other team's rock is going down the ice, your team should be in the hack with your rock cleaned ready to go. Very few situations require extensive thinking. An eight end game should easily be played in 2 hours. An end should at most take 15 minutes. Teams seem to be doing a good job listening for the buzzer and finishing the game accordingly. It is important to keep the games on time as a courtesy to the teams. We can only program the buzzer for a certain amount of times per night. The late draws are expected to finish their games on time as well. Skips should evaluate where they are in the game and decide if they can make 8 ends. Please try to have fun and respect the game. It's fun to compete and try to win, but the spirit of curling should always be in the back of your mind.