GTPulse: Make Curling Your Winter Sport With Leelanau Curling Club
When I tell people this will be my first winter living in Northern Michigan I usually get the same reaction; a smirk and a question about what kind of vehicle I drive. The second question I often get asked is what winter sport I play. The fun doesn’t stop in Northern Michigan just because summer is over. When I was younger I enjoyed snowboarding and skiing has always piqued my interest, but I don’t have a dedicated winter sport…yet. People all across the region are preparing for skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey and plenty more winter sports. David Gersenson is able to participate in his favorite winter sport all year long and is getting others involved at his curling facility in Maple City, Michigan.
The object of curling is to slide a stone across ice as closely as possible to a target. One player slide while two other quickly brush the ice in front of the travelling stone to help it glide more smoothly and straight.
Broomstick Kitchen and Taphouse is part restaurant, part curling facility. David and his wife Theresa Gersenson co-own the business with friends Joey and Jen Reutter. I met David to sit down, chat with him and see one of his curling leagues in action.
David has been curling for two years. He began curling after an uncomfortable night sleeping on the couch left a painful kink in his neck.
“That led me to a new chiropractor who happened to be the founder of Traverse City Curling Club. He asked if I had ever curled and I said no and he said, ‘why don’t you come out, we have a learn to curl class. See if you like it’.”
Dave fell in love with curling the first time he played and started playing in the beginners league at the Traverse City Curling Club.
“Plain and simple it was a game that was fun to play in the winter time. It was a sport that I could do. It was a sport that I could get better at.”
David had me come in for the junior curling club. Kids filed in and seemed excited to see their friends and practice curling. Theresa and David lead the class.
“I think that they’re intrigued by throwing stones down a sheet of ice, that they can slide them 120 feet or however long. They’re consistently getting better at it, and they see that we’re excited to teach them.”
There are adult leagues as well that run weekly on Tuesday and Thursday, all beginning level.
“Everyone who comes out ends up loving it,” David said. “Out retention rates are great.”
The retention rates can be directly attributed to the camaraderie and friendships people develop through playing on the curling leagues, and having a taphouse connected to it certainly helps foster these friendships.
“A huge part of the curling community is building friendships. It’s like a social club. A big part of it is after you play a match you go and sit down and share a beverage with the opposing team.”
Another big reason that the curling league retention rates are so strong is because of how accessible the game is. Anyone can curl. There are no physical, gender or age requirements. The adult leagues held at Broomstick Kitchen and Taphouse are co-ed because women and men can compete equally.
“Curling is a sport for people who don’t have a sport. You don’t need a certain body type to play, it really is for anyone.”
“It’s really funny, I obviously built this because I love to play and I wanted to grow the sport locally. I’ve never been able to maintain anything. I can’t keep a plant alive, I can’t keep my room clean type of thing. Maintaining the ice has been an extreme challenge for me and a battle everyday. Being able to do a good job on it has been a lot of fun, I find myself timing stones while people are curling to see if it’s moving at the right speed.”
David’s passion for curling has seeped into his passion for making curling a great experience for all. Whether you’ve curled before or not, checkout Broomstick Kitchen and Taphouse if you’re looking for a fun winter sport that anyone can play.