by Amy Crocker
For obvious reasons, San Francisco isn’t steeped in the culture of curling as much as cities in say Minnesota or Wisconsin. This obscure frozen sport enters our radar every four years and for most people that’s enough.
But believe it or not, San Francisco Bay Area Curling Club has been operating for more than 50 years and is one of the oldest clubs on the west coast. It will be sending a mixed team to the national championships this March.
Lyle Sieg, who will play “skip” on this team (the last player to shoot), has been curling since boyhood in Canada, where he competed regionally, then provincially, then nationally - making the championships in the early 80’s. But while he could practice on a frozen lake during his lunch break in Canada, it takes more determination to curl in California.
We spoke with Sieg about California curling, physics, and his Olympic picks.
SFist: About how many curlers are in San Francisco?
Lyle Sieg: After the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, our club grew from 20 people to 40. We went back down to 30 or so and then we’ve maintained 80 members since [Turin in 2006]. We are hoping to double that [after Vancouver].
SF: Why do you think the sport will grow in the bay area?
LS: I think it goes back to a little bit of the engineering. I’m an engineer myself, not that you have to be an engineer to enjoy this game, I think engineers enjoy it because of the aspects of physics and competition and thinking and strategy. Tying them all together makes the game very appealing and certainly has helped us in our region - all the people from Silicon Valley and various universities here.
SF: If you just want to curl recreationally, what do you need to start?