“Curling is not a huge thing in the United States,” says Laura Yee, a member of the Potomac Curling Club. “And there’s an even smaller proportion of curlers who are LGBT.”
The sport has existed for centuries, but only in recent decades has it gained widespread attention. Next week, D.C. area spectators will have the chance to watch a first-of-its-kind curling tournament — or bonspiel — play out on the ice at a local rink.
The sport involves two teams of four facing off on the ice. Each person on both teams launches a “curling stone” across the ice towards a pre-designated target known as the house. As the stone moves down the ice, two teammates vigorously sweep or scrub the ice in front of the stone to temporarily warm the ice and guide the stone as close to the house as possible.
Once each member has had a turn, judges award a point for each stone closer to the center of the house than the nearest stone launched by the other team. After eight separate ends — or innings — the team with the highest score wins.
The Potomac Curling Club, which hosts a number of weekly curling leagues from October to April, will open the doors to its rink in Laurel, Md., for a two-day “Glitter Bombspiel.” The event will offer a rare opportunity for participants to compete against other LGBTQ people. While such events are common in Canada, this is the first such queer bonspiel to be held in the United States.
Matches will run on a regular basis throughout the three-day tournament, with four games held on four different sheets of ice simultaneously.
“One of the things that makes curling unique is the big community component,” says Yee. “These are as much social events as they are competitive.” At each bonspiel, participants socialize over food and drink, all while enjoying a festive atmosphere with music and live entertainment.
“Even after games, you’ll sit together with other teams and the winners buy the losers drinks,” says Yee. “It gives you the chance to meet people you’d otherwise never get to meet.”
Potomac Curling Club’s “Glitter Bombspiel” starts at 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 6 and runs through 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 13810 Old Gunpowder Rd., Laurel, Md. Visit curldc.org.
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