A team from the United States won a bronze medal in curling at the 2006 Olympics, but when it comes to boldness and audacity, the 1965 Madison Central High School curling team deserves a gold medal.
Central had a hockey team for many years, but as far as I know, the 1964-65 school year was the only time in more than a century of existence that the school had a curling team. Blame it on Wisconsin High. Or, better yet, let's give credit to some ingenious guys from Whiskey High.
According to team members Jeff Mattox and Gene Madrell, the curling team functioned primarily as a way to get out of classes. Feeling a bit alienated because the closing of Wisconsin High School in 1964 forced them to transfer to Central to spend their senior year finishing up those essential physical education credits that stood in the way of early graduation, Mattox, Madrell, Dean Urben, and Ric Sundquist decided to form a curling team to get out of some of their classes.
The sport of curling involves two teams of four players trying to slide 42-pound granite rocks down a sheet of ice. Whether they decided to add an extra man to the team in case someone couldn't make it to a game, or they just found a kindred soul, the guys from Wisconsin High also invited Curtis Larson (who'd transferred to Central in the 10th grade) to join the team.
The curling team needed a coach, so they turned to another Wisconsin High School transfer: Mr. Everard, who, I'm told, knew nothing about curling. John Everard (art) and Paul Haack (music) taught Allied Arts, a new course during the 1964-65 school year. The class met in a basement classroom that had previously housed the famous "Rec Room," the wild and crazy homeroom hosted by Mr. Herreid, who had decamped to Laugh-A-Lot High School. Allied Arts was not an easy course, but it did offer some get of of class activities, including field trips to The Art Insitute of Chicago.
According to Madrell, the Central curling team had only one win all season -- and that was because the opponents failed to show up for the game.
Note: Photo is from the 1965 Tychoberahn. Several names are misspelled in the caption.
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