NEWS

Olympics 2014: A Curling Cheatsheet For The Sochi Games

02/05/2014 05:25 EST | Updated 02/06/2014 04:59 EST

Ah curling, the second-most beautiful game on ice (sorry ringette). On the surface it looks like a glorified version of shuffleboard, a game that your grandma or grandpa could play on quiet Sunday. The truth is, curling is a lot tougher than it looks. And today's top curlers are as fit as any Olympian.

Here's a brief guide that'll have you talking about the game like an expert for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

  • Some Words You'll Want To Know
    Rock: It's the thing you're sliding down the ice. It's about 40 lbs, and often comes from a small Scottish island. Each team has eight of them. Yes, you can call it a stone.

    Broom: Not an actual broom, not anymore, but you use it to "sweep" the ice, changing the way the rock slides.

    Button: That's the target. You're trying to get rock(s) closest to the button. It's more than a 100 feet away from you.
  • More Words You'll Want To Know
    End: Each curling match at the Olympics consists of 10 ends.

    Hammer (or last rock): The team with the hammer has the last shot of the end.

    Skip: The skip is the captain of the team. The other members of the team are the first, second and third (easy, right?)

    For more curling terminology... Admit it, you want a Men of Curling calendar, don't you?
  • Who Am I Cheering For?
    Canada, of course. This is Ontario's Brad Jacobs (on the left) and team. They'll be wearing the maple leaf at Sochi. It will be his first Olympics. His team won a silver at the World Championships. (Photo: Trevor Hagan/Getty Images)
  • And The Women?
    Manitoba's Jennifer Jones, also on the far left, will be leading Team Canada. This is also her first Olympics but she has won the Scotties' Tournament of Hearts FOUR times.

    She's also the author of one of the most insane curling shots ever. (Photo: Trevor Hagan/Getty Images)
  • Seriously... Wow.
  • How Does The Rock Even Do This?
  • OK. Who Am I Booing?
    First of all, curling is a sport that prides itself on politeness and booing the opposition is frowned upon. But, hey, who are we to tell you what to do in your own home?

    On the men's side, Canada will have to look out for Sweden and Norway (and not just because of the pants). Great Britain will also be a medal threat.

    The women's world championship was won this year by Scotland's Eve Muirhead (they'll be representing Great Britain at the Olympics). Sweden and Switzerland are also medal favourites.

    PHOTO: Scotland's Eve Muirhead does her best impression of Jack Nicholson in the Shining. (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
  • Seriously. Those. Pants.
    Ugh. NORWAAAAAAY. (Photo Robert Bukaty/AP)
  • Does The Sweeping Actually Help?
    Yes! The friction from the broom actually melts the ice and can change the speed and direction of the rock. Sweeping can also burn a lot of calories. A top-level curler can burn 500 calories an hour just by sweeping, according to NPR.
  • And The Yelling?
    With apologies to football, curling truly is a game of inches. The person who 'throws' the rock has to decide if the shot requires sweeping to gain speed, change trajectory, etc. And the only way to tell your two teammates who are 40-feet away is by yelling. Also, it's kinda fun.
  • When Is It On?
    Curling at the 2014 Sochi Games begins on Monday, Feb. 10. With the gold medal match for the women on Feb. 20 and the men's gold medal match on Feb. 21st. (Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP Files)
  • Wait There's Beer Involved?
    Uh, yeah! Traditionally the winning team buys the losing team a round. We're not sure if this applies at the Olympic level, but we can dream.
  • Wait A Second...
    Funny pants, weird lingo, beer... is this a sport for hipsters? (Photo McCord Museum )

Also on HuffPost

Hot Canadian Olympians