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How Jared Allen Transitioned From Soccer to Olympic Curling

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How Jared Allen Transitioned From Soccer to Olympic Curling

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Jared Allen used the “Energy of the Mullet” to turn out to be one of many NFL’s most charismatic athletes, however now the legendary defensive finish is nicely and actually on the assault with the game of curling. What began out as a joke amongst buddies quickly became an ultracompetitive actuality when the Texan fell head over heels for the sport they name ‘chess on ice.’

Keen to seek out out extra, M&F caught up with the record-breaking sacker to learn how it’s all going.

“It began as a guess, and I by no means welch on a guess… though I in all probability ought to,” jokes Allen of his unlikely transition from the gridiron to the ice rink. Initially, he had excessive hopes of constructing a reputation for himself on the PGA tour, however finally got here to the trustworthy realization that he wasn’t as much as par.

Undeterred, Allen occurred to see a narrative on Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, the unlikely Olympian ski jumper from England, and he was impressed to discover a sport that he is perhaps even worse at after which attempt to take all of it the way in which to the Olympic Video games. “The reward isn’t price the fee, I’ll let you know that a lot,” laughs Allen whereas reflecting on his newly chosen sport.

As a former NFL celebrity who performed with the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, and Carolina Panthers throughout his 12-year profession, the cash obtainable through winners purses or sponsorships in Curling is a far cry from the riches of the NFL. Nonetheless, it was by no means the cash that drew Allen to curling within the first place. It was, in fact, the possibility to reconnect together with his buddies and get his recreation face on as soon as once more. “I believe I simply benefit from the competitors of it,” he says. “I take pleasure in studying one thing new .. I’m simply sort of the character that after I’m in, I’m all-in. And so, we try to perform the objective of qualifying for the (2024) Olympics.”

Former NFL player Jared Allen with his curling team on the ice rink
@jaredallen69/Instagram

The way to Play Curling

  • Curling is a staff sport the place the 4 gamers work collectively with a purpose to slide a granite stone into the goal space that’s on the finish of an extended strip of ice often called the “pitch.” The profitable staff is the one which strikes their stones down the pitch and closest to the center of that concentrate on space, in any other case often called the “home.”
  • In all, 16 stones are despatched down the ice by every staff throughout 8 video games.
  • Factors can solely be awarded when a stone is throughout the bounds of the home.
  • Groups can knock opposing stones out of rivalry with their very own stones.
  • Factors are awarded based mostly on every staff’s means to get their stones closest to the middle of the home and that is scored cumulatively throughout all the 8 video games.

Whereas curling typically appears like a comparatively light train, it is very important be aware that the stones weigh round 40 kilos (18 kilograms) and it takes nice effort to maneuver them. The stone is initially despatched out by the thrower who really pushes the stone into the specified path. “Sweepers” then comply with the stone and try and affect the journey of every stone by warming the ice and lowering the resistance that the stone will face.

How Jared Allen Improved His Curling Abilities

In March of 2018, Allen put his first curling staff collectively, they usually discovered themselves on the shedding finish of all 4 video games on the World Curling Tour occasion that very same 12 months. For an elite athlete like Jared Allen nonetheless, throwing himself into the deep finish and shedding to Olympic stage curlers was the proper introduction to the game. Since then, and with a always evolving staff, this sporting icon has certified for a number of nationwide competitions, and is keen to achieve the Olympics himself.

“I’ll let you know what, it’s a special kind of competitors than I’m ever used to,” Allen says. “Clearly, the bodily aspect of studying; find out how to slide and be on ice, however simply from the psychological (side), it’s like chess on ice, proper? So, there’s a bunch of technique to it, so it’s been a enjoyable problem, I can’t complain, and we’re having fun with the method.” Whereas Allen has fallen flat on his face a number of instances, he’s at all times received up stronger and wiser for the subsequent go round. Competing within the Grand Prix Bern Inter 2023 in Bern, Switzerland, Allen’s staff showcased distinctive talent and teamwork, culminating of their victory within the Comfort-Cup 2023. His persistence, adaptability, and dedication has introduced nice admiration from throughout the curling neighborhood and past. New eyeballs are discovering the game due to Allen’s involvement, and it’s a lot more durable than it appears.

Sweeping, for instance, is a good take a look at of cardiovascular endurance. “And, you’re attempting to remain balanced on ice, proper?” says Allen. “So, yeah, sweeping forwards and backwards, I imply you’re leaning on that broom, you’re placing a variety of power, a variety of weight on there. The bodily aspect of it was greater than I believed it was going to be. I typically stroll away utterly worn out. By the primary day, your muscle tissues are smoked, so Biofreeze has been my good friend,” he provides, laughing

Whereas some athletes wrestle with retirement, Allen, who was one of the vital fearsome rushers in NFL historical past, has been in a position to make use of household and religion to see him clear. Along with his curling “passion,” Jared Allen champions the Properties for Wounded Warriors initiative, offering accessible mortgage-free houses to fight veterans.  “A variety of guys do run into that (problem with retirement), I believe it’s extra as a result of that’s the place they discover their id, proper? They don’t have something exterior of that, whereas I discover my id in Christ, and household, and that sort of stuff … for me curling began out as one thing goofy, and now I’m simply seeing it by means of.”

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