Maybe it was the checkered curling pants sported by the Norwegian Olympic curlers. Even a particularly lackluster showing by the U.S. men didn’t seem to deter Knoxvillians from resuming their love affair with the icy sport, packing the house both Sundays the Great Smoky Mountains Curling Club offered free workshops at the Ice Chalet in Bearden in celebration of the Olympics.
GSMCC president Kerry Cholka said the group expected “maybe 50, total” and instead was “so bombarded we couldn’t get everyone’s name.” The turnout of around 170 the first night and 200 the second included mostly “young” people, says Cholka, which for curlers is those in the 20-40 age range. The surge has the club talking about perhaps adding a second night to their long-standing Sunday tradition, forming a league, and/or offering a class at the University of Tennessee, and maybe starting a beginner’s league this summer, which is usually break time.
The Ice Chalet has also gotten a boost from the Olympics, says manager Larry LaBorde. “It’s given us a shot in the arm, leg, bottom, and other arm.” The GSMCC’s annual Bonspiel in June is chock-full with 24 teams already, a number of them Canadian. Since you’re gonna ask anyway, here’s how to get in touch with Cholka and get in on the fun, albeit in plain pants: firstname.lastname@example.org