Excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot This book describes 40 sports that ought to be played but aren’t, because I made them up.
The Curling Pool international championships have been held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, since 1921.
This rock ‘em, sock ‘em game was created to add to the allure of curling and is a real favourite with curlers who’ve had a bad day at the office. Curling pool can combine the precision of curling with the skills of pool to make an event that everyone can appreciate.
Players use the same size rink as now and curl over the same distance. However, the aim of Curling Pool is to sink stones into one of the six ice pockets cut into the edge of the house at each end of the curling rink. There are three holes on each side of the house, worth one, two, and three points – the nearer the hole to the curler, the more difficult it is to sink a stone, so the higher the number of points awarded are. Curlers have to bounce their stones into pockets via at least one other stone for the pocketed stone to count.
Curling Pool takes place over ten ends of the rink and the highest score wins – if there’s a draw then there’s a sudden death shootout.
The creation of Curling Pool is down to the physical attributes of two unique individuals, Willie O’Meahan and Rudi Scherzel, who were curling on the same evening in 1919. Scherzel was cross-eyed and O’Meahan had very warm feet, so that if he stood in one place for too long he wore a depression in the ice. On that day in 1919 they were curling on adjacent rinks in the local curling centre when Scherzel’s stone came into O’Meahan’s rink and scattered the rocks. Two of them landed in depressions caused by O’Meahan’s feet. Jim Jeffries the skip of O’Meahan’s team noticed how the rock gently lipped around the depression before falling in, just like a golf ball going around the edge of the hole on a green – “the effect was mesmerizing, “said Jeffries three years later, “it seemed to take ages to fall into the slight hole in the ice and I knew then that we had a new sport on our hands. As a keen pool player it only made sense to have the same number of holes in the ice as there were on the table. The rest is history.”