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  Start Curling
Start Curling
right off!
by Renée Alexander
February 18, 2010

If you have any doubts whether taking up Canada’s unofficial national sport would be a rockin’ good time, spend 90 seconds in the video vault of startcurling.ca.

It contains a trio of 30-second commercials, each entitled, “Hurry Hard,” which encapsulate the “roaring game” and its fun-loving brand perfectly.

 
For the uninitiated, “hurry” and “hard” are the instructions yelled to the sweepers of curling rocks after they’ve been thrown down the ice. They mean sweep harder so the rock can maintain its momentum longer and travel further. (Cries of “whoa!” and “right off!” mean stop sweeping to let the rock curl.)

The louder “hurry!” and “hard!” are bellowed, the more elbow grease the sweepers are supposed to be put in to their efforts.

Most people know curling from television, where it has established itself as one of the most TV-friendly sports over the last 20 years or so because two competitors on each team of four are wearing microphones. This allows the viewer the inside scoop on every shot and piece of strategy as well as how much sweeping needs to be done – and how urgently – based on the decibel level of the screaming.

You know how some recreational tennis players grunt when hitting a shot because they’re mimicking what they’ve seen Maria Sharapova or Monica Seles do? It’s the same thing in curling, only way more fun because anybody – male, female, old, young, big or small – can throw a curling rock and bellow at their sweepers. (Indeed, curling even has a variety of throwing aids that enable disabled curlers to participate.) It’s also not uncommon for non-curlers to practice their screaming while watching the game on television.

The three commercials feature a wide variety of everyday people, curling’s target market, giving their own take on “hurry, hard!” As in a real game, they start off relatively quietly but by the end, they’re yelling their heads off – while nearly laughing their heads off at the same time – and all in their own distinctive way.

All three spots conclude with a rock crashing into the house and successfully knocking the opposition stone from the “button,” or centre of the rings. (The scoring is the same as in shuffleboard where the rock closest to the button counts. If you’ve got the closest rock and your opponent has the second closest, you get one point. If you’ve got the three closest rocks, you get three points, and so on.) Curling is like golf in many ways in that the social aspect is every bit as important, and sometimes more so, than the physical part. You don’t have to be an athlete to participate and it’s unthinkable to finish a game and not retire to the lounge for a couple (or more) drinks afterwards.

The site’s virtual “lounge” features links to social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, on curling and an invitation to submit your own “Hurry Hard” commercial (complete with YouTube resolution and frame rate specifications).

 
 
Start Curling The manager’s office link features everything you need to know about curling, including where to find a club near you (there are more than 1,200 across the country), the cost of equipment and ice time, and basics such as the difference between an in-turn throw (it spins clockwise) and an out-turn (it spins counter-clockwise).

The rink link lets you know what equipment you need, the etiquette and rules, and offers a brief introduction to the sport, including a glossary of terms, the history, and an overview with animation of commonly played shots.

The “hurry, hard” theme and fun branding element is omnipresent throughout the site as every person in the virtual curling club is pictured in full throat, with their faces often hilariously distorted. You can practically hear them yelling at their sweepers.

As far as site’s go, startcurling.ca is fairly bare bones. But in this case, less is more as the omnipresent reminders of how much fun you’ll have are always at the forefront.

It makes you want to hurry (hard) to the rink.

 

Renée Alexander is a freelance business and lifestyle writer based in Winnipeg, Canada.

*Due to the constantly changing environment of websites, some reviews may no longer reflect the current website for this brand.
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