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Winter Olympics brings out curlers among fans

Death-defying jumps, gravity-defying stunts and stomach-churning speeds are hallmarks of the Winter Olympics, but one decidedly "chill" sport is also captivating audiences.

Every four years, when the Winter Olympics rolls around, one sport, in particular, gets people hooked and wanting to try their hands at.

"Everybody sees [it] on the Olympics," Owen McLachlan said. "And they're like us. They get really excited. They want to come out and try it."

McLachlan is a member of Curl San Diego, a club dedicated to the sport of curling.

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The rules of curling are simple. You take turns sliding a polished 42-pound granite stone, also known as a rock, across the ice toward a circular target called the house.

RELATED: Winter Olympics provide lessons for local ice skaters

It's that simplicity that draws people like Clyde Nooris toward the sport. He's been a member of Curl San Diego for eight years.

"I just saw it on TV and I just thought it was like a really interesting sport," he said. "After the '14 Olympics, I tried it out, loved it, and I've been here ever since."

Nooris is one of two Filipino curlers in the club. He and another member, Micha Suarez, are trying to get curling recognized by the Philippine Olympic Committee.

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For others, like Misty Daniel, the reason is more personal.

"For me, it was the Olympics and the '80s," Daniel said. "It was a bonding moment with my mom, and she was really excited about curling and she's the one who kind of got me excited about it."

But because San Diego isn't known for its winter sports, the club has to fight for time on the ice.

"Here in San Diego, there's not very many hockey rings," McLachlan said. "You got like 3 million people in the county, but there's only maybe a handful of hockey rings. So it's mostly hockey. It's mostly free skating. So curling, we're kind of on the last of the list."

Curl San Diego typically has its pick-up games and practice sessions at 9 p.m. Saturday nights at Icetown Carlsbad.

For those wanting to live out their dreams of Olympic glory, the club is offering classes beginning in March. Sign-ups are available at CurlSanDiego.org.

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