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Good Curling! | Under Rocks Podcast

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Jared Ortega
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The middle sheet at Waltham Curling Club, Triumph, Illinois.

Dry your tears, curling fans! You don't have to wait another four years for the Olympics to roll around to get a fix of your favorite icy sport. There are more than 40 curling clubs in the Midwest, including the Waltham Curling Club, the oldest in Illinois. For the first time, the Under Rocks crew deals with actual rocks as they hit the sheets and aim for the button. Who will come back for the next bonspiel? Good curling, everyone!

It all started with an obsession. WNIJ news director Jenna Dooley and her family fell hard for Olympic curling in 2018. Unable to bear a four-year wait for the next ice adventure, they found a real curling club, founded in 1884, just an hour from home. With the letdown of another Winter Olympics coming to a close, we decided to pack up the Under Rocks team for a trip to the Waltham Curling Club in Triumph, not far from Mendota.

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Jared Ortega
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What's not to love about a sport on ice that doesn't require skates? A sport that values control over brute strength? A sport where your broom skills can shine? A sport that values comradery almost as much as winning? A sport that keeps its beer kegs cold near its playing surface?

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Jared Ortega
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Thanks to the kind and generous members of the Waltham Curling Club for welcoming us to their home and showing us the ropes. That includes Paul Salander, Alan "Slim" Wilson, the Haws family, the Patrick kids, and Jeremy Groves.

And thanks to the largest Under Rocks crew ever (OK, we all wanted to try curling): Jenna Dooley, Jared Ortega, Spencer Tritt, Justin Dooley, Dan Libman, Susan Stephens, and future Olympian Everett Dooley.

Got an idea for the next Under Rocks adventure? Email us at rocks@niu.edu!