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AlanMacNeill
Swing Artist

Registered: Sep 2011
Location:
Posts: 304

How, *exactly* is it a different game altogether?

You push a rock, starting from the hack, and release it from your control by the hog line, towards a target

I push a rock, starting from the hack, and release it from my control by the hog line, towards a target.

My arm and legs still provide the motive force, my eyes still have to align for the aim. I just translate that force to the stone via a 4 foot rod...which happens to make it imprecise.

NO advantage to me, at all. Other than *maybe* in a one in a million shot where I need ridiculous power...and even then, to be honest, I've seen World Level curlers throw with just as much force out of a slide delivery as I can with a stick, and more accurately too.

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Old Post 07-25-13 09:47PM
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Curlrock
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Feb 2011
Location:
Posts: 66

The point is you choose to use a device which makes you a better curler. Not knowing you personally, you may be able to deliver a stone without a stick (i.e. without a slide). i know many older culers who do this prroficiently. They have just modified their delivery rather than use a stick. The use of the external device is the difference. Again iit may sound harsh but some people are simply not athletically able use a slide delivery. As, I said before i'i'm a lousy swimmer, but I don't expect to be able to participate in a competitive swimming event using an external device to help my deficiencies. Again, the argument whether the stick is an advantage or not is not the issue. It is simply a different delivery using an external device. I mentioned before, i think it is great that the stick is available for recreational curlers. I may have to use one some day. I was really commenting to Alice''s "inclusion" comments.

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Old Post 07-25-13 11:22PM
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Alice
Hitting Paint

Registered: Feb 2012
Location:
Posts: 108

A stick makes any curler better? That is like saying prosthetic blade legs make Pistorius a better runner.

Is it illegal or a "different" game to deliver the stones old outdoor style? You know: grab the stone's thick handle, stand up, backswing the stone even above your shoulder, bend down as much as you can and heave ho! A few running steps forward to follow through if need be. International rules still have "old school" rules on the books such as the stone must come to rest handle up, the biggest piece of a broken stone counts..... why have such rules if the heave-ho delivery is illegal?

Decades ago, I curled using only the backswing delivery. Once curling got to the Olympics we started to teach the easier draw back, push forward, stone-never-leaves-the-ice deal, and this year USCA says just teach push forward with no drawing back.

USOC's corporate charter requires disabilities to be accomodated if "feasible" as Pistorius was accomodated. US courts say discrimination against protected classes like those with disabilities, gender, age, ethnicity, etc. needs very "compelling" reasons. Fear of curling being called shuffleboard on ice or it "looks bad" on Olympic TV if sticks are allowed at Arenas and Clubs - for starters - will not get far in our civil courts, and neither will not accomodating stick players who can't bend down to deliver a stone with an "older" delivery method.

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Old Post 07-26-13 12:58AM
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Curlrock
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Feb 2011
Location:
Posts: 66

Alice. You're twisting my words a bit. I clearly stated that an individual uses a stick to make themselves a better curler. I never implied that the use of a stick was the preferred method of delivering a stone. In you're brief summary of types of deliveries over the years none of them included an external device.

I love the stick. I just think it minimizes the importance of some critical athletic skills needed for competitive curling.

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Old Post 07-26-13 10:28AM
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Gabrielle
Knee-Slider

Registered: Aug 2011
Location: California
Posts: 9

Sticks and Pistorius

Here are two quick thoughts about the practical parts of this inclusiveness discussion:

- The new USCA Instructor training course does teach a "heave-ho" alternative delivery for folks who can't slide. The full description will be released when the course is officially launched, but basically it's: stand in the hack, take a step, and heave the rock. As far as I know, it is legal.

- USCA VP Sam Williams and the rules committee are very aware of the Pistorius ruling, and also the recent push (via the courts) to integrate athletes of all abilities. There are two key issues as we move forward in this area:

First, prosthetics and assitive devices can't give an athlete an advantage. In the Pistorius case, one key point was evaluating his blades to make sure they didn't have more spring than legs. The stick (with the current stick rules) is, in my view, a clear advantage, especially for hitting. It may be that a new rule, like allowing players to use a stick from the hack without walking (or some such), would make it more equal. (Perhaps a new knee-support device will be created instead.)

The second part is coordinating our rules with the World Curling Federation. For now, the WCF is very strict on the delivery rules. If we, as the USCA, allow curlers to use alternative deliveries, we could open ourselves up to a lot of grievance suits. In order for this issue to move forward without swamping everyone in lawsuits, I think there will have to be international cooperation.

I don't have a crystal ball, but I do think there will eventually be changes (it seems unavoidable based on recent court rulings in other sports), and, in my personal opinion, I think that will be a good thing for all sports.

Thanks!
Gabrielle

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Old Post 07-26-13 03:59PM
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Alice
Hitting Paint

Registered: Feb 2012
Location:
Posts: 108

Many thanks Gabrielle for the info and perspectives. Again, why did the Arena Nationals decide no sticks for the first year?

Are stick rule coordination issues on the agenda for the WCF meeting early next year up on Tahoe/Reno? For the next rules committee meeting of the USCA Board?

Having taught sticks for years - mostly in corporate curling events for young men who blew their knees in football and people who just can't bend down without pain - it seems to me any "advantage" in sticks for takeout speed and accuracy is outweighed by the disadvantages that many stick players can't sweep much and have a stiffness in their joints most other players don't have. Maybe the Canadians or even our HP staff could study this in a lab setting as done for broom technology before the Vancouver Games. Better to have hard data than our personal ideas and biases - me included!

Pistorious has changed the reality for the Olympics after a long and hard fight. We all used corn brooms and the heave ho! delivery 150 years ago.... what will our game look like in year 2150? Here is one artist's vision for 2054 - no dedicated ice, no arenas, instead rooftops and frozen lakes in wildernesses:
http://www.jasonyoung.com/events.php

Cheers,
Alice

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Old Post 07-26-13 04:37PM
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Third Nerd
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Dec 2008
Location:
Posts: 79

Just to be clear we were not talking about including stick curlers in any event that lead to a World level. More specifically we were talking about including them in Arenas and Clubs (I am agnostic about mixed) that already include players that are ineligible from representing the US (specifically no-citizens). In fact Clubs was spefically designed to give non citizens a competitive outlet when they were barred from World level competition.

It all comes down to whether you view the stick as an unfair advantage or not.

The current rules cause a lot of harm (for lack of a better word) to a small number of people by totally banning stick players from competition.

If you believe that the stick gives an unfair advantage (which I don't) and allow them to compete then you are causing a small amount of harm to a large number of people (ie all the other competitors).

It is about minimizing the total amount of harm. Because I see the advantage of the stick as minimal at best I would err on the side of inclusion and allow stick players to compete at least on a trial basis especially since they have no other competitive outlet.

TN

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Old Post 07-26-13 04:50PM
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Gabrielle
Knee-Slider

Registered: Aug 2011
Location: California
Posts: 9

Hi Alice,

I don't remember the exact language of the decision, but generally we wanted to follow the existing rules for USCA championships. There is also an idea floating around that the Arena Nationals champions could earn berths to Club Nationals. If that were to happen (and I'm not saying it will) then we'd need to follow the same general rules as that championship.

I think it makes practical sense for the whole USCA organization to make an overarching decision on adaptive devices (preferably with the WCF, USOC, and IOC) rather than do it piecemeal in individual championship committees.

I don't know of any committees at the WCF or USOC working specifically on this issue, but that doesn't mean there aren't any.

Thanks,
Gabrielle

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Old Post 07-26-13 04:57PM
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uscgme02
Knee-Slider

Registered: Jul 2013
Location: Kalamazoo
Posts: 1

It seems like this thread has become "To Stick or not to Stick" - that is the question ... I will try to bring the topic back to the Arena Nationals in Fort Wayne last weekend.

"In a past life" I used to curl competitively in Western Canada --- and this past weekend's competition had nerves firing in me that hadn't been called upon in 20+ years! And for that - I thank the USCA and Fort Wayne for this inaugural event.

There has been a lot of talk about the qualification rules for the arena nationals - and "if you also curl in a dedicated facility" should you be allowed to curl in this event. I say 'YES'. Seems like all curling clubs could use more curlers, and anyone who will show up early to freeze in hacks, carry rocks onto the ice, setup homemade scoreboards, etc to be able to curl in an arena - should not be excluded from the Arena Nationals because they ALSO want to improve thier game by playing in a dedicated facility. But good people @ the USCA will make that decision - and I will support it. I know that - either way it will not affect us in Kalamazoo.

On another note, I was not surprised that Dave Staveteig (and crew) were able to turn the arena ice into a high-quality playing surface, they are very good at what they do and extremely dedicated - but as most of you are aware - that is only 1/3 of what makes for good curling conditions. I was pleasantly surprised at the high quality of rocks that we got to use (apparently the Fort Wayne Club rocks) - and they were great. But most amazingly to me - in 90+ degree heat and high humidity conditions - we had very few rocks "pick" ... so somehow the environment was well managed and the surface kept quite clean. I was concerned with all of the "new uniforms" that were around - we were going to have lots of fabric strands on the ice but not the case.

Lastly - it was wonderful to play against other quality teams and especially against some high-quality skips. Sholz, Myers and others we played call a nice game - and knowing that they are going back to their arena clubs with that curling knowledge to share does nothing but good to help our game grow. Let's keep the Arena Nationals as competitive as possible - while honoring its original intent.

Thanks to Fort Wayne and the USCA ... humbly submitted.

Garnet Eckstrand
Kalamazoo Curling Club

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Old Post 07-26-13 10:50PM
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Third Nerd
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Dec 2008
Location:
Posts: 79

Well said Garnett

Congratulations to you and the boys from Kalamazoo for winning the 1st Arena Championship

TN

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Old Post 07-29-13 11:16AM
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