Curling is one of the few challenging and fun sports where all ages, genders and abilities can play on a competitive level. Two teams alternate turns delivering stones down a sheet of ice trying to get theirs the closest to the center of a target known as the “house.” Each team consists of four players called the lead, second, vice, and skip each delivering two stones in that order. The skips act as the captain of the team directing all shots. The vice is the acting assistant to the skip.
Once both teams have delivered their eight stones each, that “end” is complete. The vices of both teams will tally scores for that end. One point is scored for the team with their stone closest to the center of the house which is also known as the “button.” The winning team is also awarded one extra point for each of their stones that are resting (touching) in the house that are also closer than their opponents closest stone to the button.
After points are awarded for the end, stones are reset and both teams begin the next end by delivering them in the same fashion back to the other end of the sheet. The team that scored in the previous end plays first which means the team that did not score gets the “hammer” or the last stone to be thrown in an end. Games are played usually to six ends (quick format bonspiels/tournaments), eight ends (for clubs), or ten ends (Olympics). A standard eight end game will last between 2 – 2½ hours. The winner is the team with the most points when all ends are completed.