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Team On The Verge Of Making Colorado Curling History

By Mark Haas

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) - Raise your hand if you've ever seen curling and said "That's not really a sport."

"If you don't know a sport, your knee-jerk reaction is that it's a silly game because (you) have never done it," says curler Josh Chetwynd.

Team Sobering practiced at the Denver Curling Club in Golden in January 2017
(credit: CBS)

Raise your hand if you have seen curling on TV and said "Hey, I could do that."

"The biggest misconception is that curling is really easy," says curler Evan Jaffe.

… And raise your hand if you've ever thought, "Curling could be my ticket to the Olympics."

"It's easy to come and try, but it takes a lot to get to the level you see on the Olympics," said curler Aaron Johnston.

But for the first time in a long time, a team from Denver is getting close to that level.

"Did I think it would happen this quickly? No," said Daryl Sobering, captain of Team Sobering. "I thought it would be another year before we would be pushing on the national level."

(credit: CBS)

Team Sobering is based out of the Denver Curling Club in Golden and recently became the first team from Colorado in over 20 years to qualify for the U.S. nationals. They did it by winning five straight matches at a recent qualifying tournament to punch their ticket to Everett, Washington, starting Feb. 11.

"We are still the underdogs because they don't know who we are," said Sobering. "We come in with no pressure, which is good because I think we can beat any team that is there."

The lineup of Team Sobering sounds like the start of a bad joke: Four guys walk into a curling club.

"We have a software designer, civil engineer, real estate agent and I write books for a living," said Chetwynd.

Team Sobering practiced at the Denver Curling Club in Golden in January 2017
(credit: CBS)

They have different backgrounds and different levels of curling experience.

"I started when I was 10 or 12," said Sobering, the realtor, who is originally from Canada. "My dad was a curler and got me out to the rink pretty early."

"I have curled ever since I was 10," says Johnston, the youngest in the group and the engineer. "I have just always played in the winter. I played all through high school and college (in Wisconsin)."

PHOTO GALLERY: Curling At The Denver Curling Club

"I have been curling since 2009, I saw it in the 2006 Olympics and thought it would be cool to try out," says Jaffe, the software designer. "And I immediately fell in love with it."

"I am the rookie on the team, I started curling just over two years ago," says Chetwynd, a former baseball player, who adds he's spent hours and hours on the ice to advance to this level.

Team Sobering practiced at the Denver Curling Club in Golden in January 2017
(credit: CBS)

And now this unlikely group from Denver has a chance to take the next step towards being invited to the Olympic trials.

"We got hot at the right time," says Jaffe. "We had some really good games against really good teams. We are proving ourselves on a national level and hoping to ride that to the next level."

The Olympic Trials are in Omaha in November 2017. The selection process is complicated, but winning the nationals would certainly help Team Sobering's resume.

Only one curling team per country competes at the Olympics. The 2018 Winter Olympics are in South Korea.

Mark Haas is a sports anchor/reporter for CBS4. Read his bio or follow him on Twitter @markhaastv or on Facebook.

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