Young curlers inspired by the Winter Olympic Games practice the sport at a local club in Georgia.
MARIETTA, Ga. — Curling competitions begin Wednesday at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Local curlers, inspired by the Winter Olympic Games, have been practicing the sport at the Peachtree Curling Club in Marietta.
Shawn Timberlake came to curl on a whim, really. He saw a post on Facebook and decided to give it a shot.
“Escape really, to get away from the everyday grind,” he said. “Came out and I was hooked.”
Timberlake said it’s a lot harder than it looks.
“You get the speed right; you have to have a feel…,” he said.
Curling is about precision and strategy.
“Have to have the right lines, know where you are going,” Timberlake said.
It’s a sport where all are welcome.
“I am a T10 Para – been in a chair for 17 years,” he said.
The Olympic and Paralympic curlers set the bar that here, doesn’t feel too far out of reach.
“Olympics it’s pretty cool, I’d like to try that maybe,” Timberlake said. “You never know we might get there one day.”
On a bright morning with a chill in the air, Caden Lynch comes to do what few others his age do – curl.
“Kind of fun to be a curler in Georgia,” he said.
With his mom and little sister along for support, Caden heads to the Peachtree Curling Club all bundled up and ready to work.
“We are nipping – what it does is shave the top of the ice,” he said.
For Caden, everything about curling is captivating. At 12 years old, he’s an up-and-comer inspired by the best in the world.
“Fhe in love with it when I was 5 or 6, now I can do it for real,” Caden said. “I watched the Olympics one year, totally fell in love with the sport so went with tennis balls and brooms and chalk and started doing it from there.”
Caden’s mom said he invented his own curling game in the driveway of their home where he rolls tennis balls down, pretending to sweep in the driveway.
When it was clear this wasn’t a passing phase, Cayden’s mom and dad started their search to find a curling facility and were pleasantly surprised.
“We were delighted to find something close to home… a little surprise, we didn’t know much about the curling world,” she said.
What they’ve found is a unique sport and a special place that feels like home.
“It’s the community – they welcome everyone and it’s just fun,” Cayden said.
The curling club is easy to miss, but more are finding out about it.
“A lot of people don’t know it’s here,” Emma Betteridge said.
For Emma, curling is a gift that’s been in the family for generations.
“My grandma does it and my grandpa did it,” she said.
Emma’s dad Tim also started curling at a young age.
“It’s nice because we can do curling together,” she said.
Emma started curling when she was 9.
“Threw a little rock, totally slipped and fell but loved it,” Emma said.
Over the last five years, she’s developed impressive skills in a sport that she can’t convince her high school friends to try.
“Ppeople are so surprised there is curling in Georgia of all places?” she said.
For Emma, it’s not just a hobby and family time. It’s something she’d love to take all the way to the top.
“It takes time, you have to be patient,” she said. “The ultimate goal is the Olympics.”
Emma’s dad said he’d love to see her make it to the Olympics.
“That would be the ultimate present. That would be incredible. I started at 14, to see her starting at 9, to see her make it to the Olympics would be the best thing in my life,” Tim said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism