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01-13-20 03:34PM
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Harvey Hacksmasher

 

Registered: Oct 2019
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Sweepers burning rocks for ceremonial throws

I'm new to curling, but I've seen a few videos now where they'd have ceremonial throws, basically a draw to the button by celebrities/dignitaries/etc., with real curlers sweeping the rock.

A lot of these land straight on the button. That's hard enough for most curlers, so how are these amateur non-curlers doing it?

Upon closer examination, I've noticed that these are usually heavy draws, and the sweepers would gently tap it here and there to guide the rock to the button. In real game terms, they're basically burning the rock.

So is my observation correct?

A ceremonial throw is irrelevant to the actual spirit of the game, of course, but what concerns me is the fact that while some sweepers are obviously inexperienced at this ritual (giggling, tapping blatantly, etc.), I've also seen some sweepers that have gotten enough practice at it that they're pretty good at hiding the little taps.

I'm not sure if this is a skill that sweepers should practice and perfect, just to keep the illusion on ceremonial throws. One implication is that if they got too good, maybe they can do it in a real game too, burning the rock on purpose but hide it so they can get away with it (i.e. cheating).

Am I overthinking this? Maybe it's actually easy for other curlers to spot the technique and it's not so hidden after all? Maybe sweepers do tap the rock here and there a bit and have been doing so for decades, so none of this really matters anyway?

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01-13-20 04:21PM
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Super Rockchucker

 

Registered: Jan 2011
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The sweepers for the ceremonial first rock "know" ( aka are told) to make sure that the rock gets "very close" to the button. Some traditions just never go away.

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01-13-20 04:49PM
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Harvey Hacksmasher

 

Registered: Oct 2019
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I'm fine with ceremonial/traditional aspects of the game. I'm not sure I'm fine with the athletes violating one of the most sacred rules of the sport while doing it.

Personally I think it'd be more exciting if the ceremonial throw is with a house setup with rocks in play, and let some amateur throw the hammer and see what the team can do with it. Skip can advise and/or call line, sweepers will sweep, put enough rocks in play so that something may or may not happen, maybe with a few good options since who knows what kind of throw you're going to get.

Most important of all, though, don't abandon the rules and spirit of the game. That's what makes curling special in my opinion.

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01-13-20 06:34PM
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Registered: Oct 2004
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First of all, it is not in a game, so no rules are violated. It is during an opening ceremonies of an event.

The organizers usually pick someone very recognizable from there area, that the event is being held, that maybe has not curled for years, but at one time was a great curler, won a brier, helped the game, etc.

I have seen them have to help a gentlemen on to the ice to throw the ceremonial first rock - of course they will want to get it to the button for him. He was 90 years old.

Nothing too serious and nothing to get worked up over. For the fun of the start of an event.

Everyone loves it.

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01-14-20 10:33AM
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biterbar
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You are waaaaaaaaaay overthinking this.

Name me a curler who has "gotten enough practice at it that they're pretty good at hiding the little taps"

__________________
"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire"-Winston Churchill

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01-14-20 03:51PM
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Harvey Hacksmasher

 

Registered: Oct 2019
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This is recalling from memory, but I seem to remember Thomas Ulsrud sweeping a ceremonial rock that lands straight on the button. I think the thrower was a little kid. I mostly watch curling on YouTube, so this was probably during 2018 Continental Cup, so someone can dig the footage up with some effort and time.

I've seen some other footage of ceremonial throws, and they're way different than Ulsrud's. One in particular is Fujisawa's recently for an old man. They were giggling (even more than typical for them) because of how ridiculous it was: the rock started with no handle going sideways, and half way down the sheet they manipulated it somehow (off-camera) so it gained rotation and curled and landed near the button. It was so ridiculous, and I think no one was fooled, since it was probably blatant for everyone in the arena.

With Ulsrud's, I seem to remember that he was taking it quite seriously, trying not to ruin the "magic" for this kid. If I remember correctly, the camera zoomed in quite tight, and I could see after repeated careful viewings that he was sweeping very close to the front of the rock, and I think he basically did several little taps to slow it down so it lands straight on the button. It was visually almost imperceptible to my naive inexperienced eyes, but I figured it out mostly because you could hear several faint tap-tap-tap sounds caught by the mic.

I know nothing about Ulsrud's history in curling, but I did hear Mike Harris' comment on the "broomgate 2.0" controversy from 2019 European Championship, where Norway had to forfeit the game against England because their fifth player brought in his own broom with fresh pads into a game in progress. Mike insinuated that Ulsrud should've known better, not just because he's an elite curler, but because he's Ulsrud.

Maybe I'm reading way too much into what Mike said, but I got the impression that perhaps he's saying that Ulsrud is known to have a history of doing "magic tricks", to put it mildly.

//edit: added references
Ceremonial first rock at 2019 Karuizawa International with Team Fujisawa

Mike Harris @ From the Hack, 2019/11/26
Partial transcript: "... the other thing is, Thomas Ulsrud and his team were in the middle of that controversy? They should've known better. Their coach should've known better. The 5th should've known better. Thomas should've known better. All these players should've known better. So I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for Team Ulsrud.

[(paraphrase) Bringing a fresh broom into a game in progress is not an easy thing to do because you're not allowed to have a broom bag on the ice, so you had to go back to the locker room to get it.]

So A, they didn't know the rule, which I find hard to believe with Thomas (chuckle), having gone through this whole thing..."

Last edited by curlingclips on 01-14-20 at 08:12PM

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01-14-20 07:06PM
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Super Rockchucker

 

Registered: Mar 2013
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Mountain, meet mole hill.

All the years I've watched live and on tv there's only one incident I remember where someone burned a rock and didn't come clean and self report it. It was either women's Worlds or maybe even women's Europeans a team burned a rock and high 5'd like it didn't happen but clearly they burned it.

As for broomgate it was purely accidental when the 5th player used their own broom instead of the player they replaced. I still say that penalty was way too harsh. Ulsrud and team one of the most sportsmanlike teams ever. Especially with the pile they put up with at Vancouver Olympics.


Oh, and there was that one time in the Manitoba Scotties about 8- 10 years ago where a team was accused to death of burning a rock and hadn't.... .......too soon?

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01-14-20 08:29PM
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Harvey Hacksmasher

 

Registered: Oct 2019
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I added reference to the podcast where Mike Harris commented about Team Ulsrud's fifth broom incident at the 2019 Europeans. Frankly I don't know what to make of it, because I don't have a whole lot of the backstory (e.g. Vancouver? I don't know what you're talking about).

I'm a new fan, so burned rocks are still kind of a thing for me.

I have seen plenty of instances where the offending teams immediately owned up to their foul (the most dramatic I've seen so far is probably Laing/Hebert burning Koe's triple takeout vs Jacobs.

I have not seen plenty of instances where the offending team kept hush and tried to get away with it. But keep in mind that even if I did see it with my own eyes, I'm not sure if I've understood curling enough to even know that that's what had happened. Like I said, I'm a new fan, so naive and inexperienced that the first time I saw Ulsrud burning the heck out of that ceremonial rock for that kid, I didn't even know that that's what he was doing until after repeated viewing of the video evidence.

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01-22-20 02:58PM
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Knee-Slider

 

Registered: Mar 2017
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 3

Re: Sweepers burning rocks for ceremonial throws

You are absolutely correct that experienced sweepers will use their feet subtly to manipulate the rock for speed and line.

This is done for optics and not to embarrass the dignitary or ceremonial rock thrower.

It can be harder to see live when in the stands, but when you are on the ice next to the same people, you can tell if you are experienced.

It is very rare for competitive curlers to cheat intentionally with a burned rock. If anything, hogline violations are more common.

quote:
Originally posted by curlingclips
I'm new to curling, but I've seen a few videos now where they'd have ceremonial throws, basically a draw to the button by celebrities/dignitaries/etc., with real curlers sweeping the rock.

A lot of these land straight on the button. That's hard enough for most curlers, so how are these amateur non-curlers doing it?

Upon closer examination, I've noticed that these are usually heavy draws, and the sweepers would gently tap it here and there to guide the rock to the button. In real game terms, they're basically burning the rock.

So is my observation correct?

A ceremonial throw is irrelevant to the actual spirit of the game, of course, but what concerns me is the fact that while some sweepers are obviously inexperienced at this ritual (giggling, tapping blatantly, etc.), I've also seen some sweepers that have gotten enough practice at it that they're pretty good at hiding the little taps.

I'm not sure if this is a skill that sweepers should practice and perfect, just to keep the illusion on ceremonial throws. One implication is that if they got too good, maybe they can do it in a real game too, burning the rock on purpose but hide it so they can get away with it (i.e. cheating).

Am I overthinking this? Maybe it's actually easy for other curlers to spot the technique and it's not so hidden after all? Maybe sweepers do tap the rock here and there a bit and have been doing so for decades, so none of this really matters anyway?

Last edited by victormlee on 01-22-20 at 03:01PM

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01-24-20 04:48AM
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Harvey Hacksmasher

 

Registered: Oct 2019
Location:
Posts: 22

I'm a new fan, so hog line violations are still kind of a thing for me too. I thought the Eye on the Hog technology pretty much solves the debate part of the issue, but then I just saw Rocque vs Brandwood, where Russ thought the rock may be malfunctioning, even when just minutes earlier they were saying that the tech is practically infallible (unless it's a low battery issue).

So now I wonder if some of the more famous hog line violations weren't actually violations at all, e.g. Eve Muirhead at the 2018 Olympics.

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Curling Scores

W: Quebec Scotties
Valleyfield, QC
Teams | Scores | Standings | Playoffs
Draw: 16 -- Fri, Jan 24 -- 9:30am ET
St-Georges Final
Boisvert (7)
Davies Final
Hains (10)
Verreault 11  Final
Girard (10)
Tippin 10  Final
Lavoie (10)
W: Nova Scotia Scotties
Dartmouth, NS
Teams | Scores | Standings | Playoffs
Draw: W6 -- Fri, Jan 24 -- 8:00am AT
Brothers Final
Jones (10)
Breen Final
McEvoy (8)
Mattatall Final
Myketyn-Driscoll (7)
Hilliard Final
Arsenault 11  (8)
W: Scottish Curling Junior Championships
Aberdeen, SCO
Teams | Scores | Standings | Playoffs
Draw: W5 -- Fri, Jan 24 -- 12:30pm GMT
Bryce Final
Smith (7)
Henderson Final
Al-Saffar (9)
Findlay Final
Farmer (6)
Davie Final
Farries (7)
M: Scottish Curling Junior Championships
Aberdeen, SCO
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Draw: M5 -- Fri, Jan 24 -- 8:30am GMT
Carson Final
Holder (10)
Kinnear Final
Craik (10)
Turner Final
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Cameron Final
Craik (10)
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Okotoks, AB
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Draw: 4 -- Thu, Jan 23 -- 6:30pm MT
Scheidegger Final
Skrlik (7)
Rocque Final
Walker (8)
Vaughan Final
Hilker (10)
Sherrer Final
Kaufman (10)
M: WFG Quebec Tankard
Valleyfield, QC
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Draw: 15 -- Thu, Jan 23 -- 7:30pm ET
Bedard Final
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M: Deloitte Nova Scotia Tankard
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Draw: M6 -- Fri, Jan 24 -- 8:00am AT
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Burgess Final
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Weiss Final
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