It goes something like this.
People race down the ice using brooms to push big discs that resemble Roomba robotic vacuums. They wear shoes with mismatched soles: Teflon on one foot, a grippy rubber surface on the other.
What’s up with that?
Shuffleboard on ice for younger people.
A bona fide Olympic sport (well, Winter Olympic sport, anyway).
“It’s that weird thing you might see every four years and not understand what’s going on,” said Ian McLean, 28, a Bothell curler.
As if the sport isn’t weird enough, remember the knickers and zany pants worn by the Norwegian men’s Olympic curling team? Or Russia’s psychedelic red-and-white pants?
Starting this weekend you can watch eight days of curling in Everett — and you can even try it out between games.
The USA Curling Nationals are Feb. 11-18 at Xfinity Arena. Teams of men and women from all over the country are competing for the championship title at this tournament hosted by Seattle’s Granite Curling Club.
What will the 18 teams wear?
Come see. The opening ceremony is 6 p.m. Saturday, complete with bagpipes. After all, this is a sport that originated in Scotland in the 16th century with games pushing around stones on frozen ponds.
It starts with handshakes and a coin toss to decide whether to throw first or last. At each end of the rink there’s a bulls-eye target known as the “house.” The center of the house is the “button.” Basically, the object of the game is to get those discs, or “rocks,” closer to the button than the other team gets theirs. The brooms, which are fancy brushes, sweep the ice to make a stone travel farther and curl less.
Yes and no.
That rock is 44 pounds of granite.
“A special type of granite that withstands torture,” McLean said.
He got hooked 20 years ago.
“My little brother and I were forced by our dad to watch it during the Olympics,” he said.
The brothers sprang into action. They turned the hallway into a curling court, using plastic golf clubs to whack the handmade discs into masking-tape circles. Their dad took the boys to Granite Curling Club, where McLean and his brother still curl. He will be a sidelines volunteer at the tournament.
As for Dad, he’s playing the bagpipes at the opening ceremony.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @reporterbrown.
If you go
Want to learn how to play? Curling is for all ages and abilities. There are leagues for men, women, mixed and juniors at Granite Curling Club, 1440 N. 128th St., Seattle; www.curlingseattle.org.
Test how much you know, or don’t know, about curling at www.123facts.com/play-quiz/Curling-4309.html.