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Campbell-Sevey Insight: Bob Lawrence – Beer, Bonspiels and The Spirit of Curling

Bob Lawrence (left) and his curling team. 

This month we profile Bob Lawrence, a sales rep for Campbell-Sevey, and how his interest in the sport of curling began.

“I started curling 20 years ago with some buddies. For those who don’t know what curling is, it was invented in medieval Scotland, with the first written reference to a contest using stones on ice coming from records dated February 1541.

What is curling?

Curling is a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric circles. It is related to bowls, boules and shuffleboard. Two teams, each with four players, take turns sliding heavy, polished granite stones, also called rocks, across the ice curling sheet towards the house, a circular target marked on the ice. Each team has eight stones. The purpose is to accumulate the highest score for a game; points are scored for the stones resting closest to the center of the house at the conclusion of each end, which is completed when both teams have thrown all of their stones. A game usually consists of eight or ten ends.

The curler can induce a curved path (a “curl”) by causing the stone to slowly turn as it slides, and the path of the rock may be further influenced by two sweepers with brooms who accompany it as it slides down the sheet, using the brooms to alter the state of the ice in front of the stone. A great deal of strategy and teamwork go into choosing the ideal path and placement of a stone for each situation, and the skills of the curlers determine how close to the desired result the stone will achieve. This gives curling its nickname of “chess on ice”.

How I started?

My started with curling began in 1996 at the St. Paul Curling Club. Three high school buddies and I, at the urging of some other friends, joined a late night “bar” league because it was quite casual and full of newbies, like us. We learned how to play the game, but just the basics as nobody was really serious and probably more concerned about the pitchers of beer that were pretty much lined up at the ends.

We got a bit more competitive, joined the regular club and started playing like we meant it. Before long we were playing in 2 or 3 different leagues along with weekly bonspiels or tournaments, in and out of town. It has become a weekly staple for us to get through the long Minnesota winters. As we got a bit older, we did not play in quite as many bonspiels, but we do still enjoy our weekly matches.

Becoming popular 

As curling has become more popular, not only in Minnesota, but across the entire county we are finding that folks of any age, men, women and children alike, can enjoy this sport for many years. It is great exercise and it builds lifelong friendships. More so than in many other team sports, good sportsmanship, often referred to as the “Spirit of Curling,” is an integral part of curling. This tradition is similar to the games of darts, except in curling the winner traditionally buys a round of drinks.

I encourage people to come to any of the clubs around the Twin Cities and around Minnesota to watch and participate in this great and ancient sport.” – Bob Lawrence

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