The good life: Testing tactics on ice

Chuck Severson slides a stone across the ice at Ozaukee Country Club.
Chuck Severson slides a stone across the ice at Ozaukee Country Club.

Chuck Severson is a strategist by nature – not only as a senior portfolio manager at Baird, but also as a “skip” on a Milwaukee Curling Club team.

The curling team’s captain, also known as a skip, oversees the team’s strategy and is typically the last of teammates to sling a 42-pound chunk of granite across the ice. One of Severson’s strengths is understanding an opponent’s position and knowing when to score versus calling a defensive maneuver.

“It’s a little bit like chess on the ice when you’re trying to outwit your opponent,” Severson said. “So, you’re trying to think strategically a couple shots in advance to where you want to position your stones for what you’re trying to accomplish.”

Severson has been an ice tactician for about as long as he’s worked at Baird. The person who hired Severson in 1988 is also a curler and felt Severson and his wife would enjoy the sport, he said.

“Curling is a great social sport,” Severson said. “It helps if you’re a good athlete, but you don’t have to be a fantastic athlete to be a competitive curler. It also helps because, living in Milwaukee, you’ve got to get out of the house in the winter and curling helps do that.”

The Milwaukee Curling Club formed three years before Wisconsin became a state, back when curlers waltzed onto a frozen Milwaukee River, near what is now the Pabst Theater, Severson said.

Over the years, Severson has traveled with his team to a variety of curling tournaments, called “bonspiels.” The bonspiel is one of Severson’s favorite aspects of curling because it’s a chance to not only make new friends, but also reconnect with old ones.

“Today, I only play three or four tournaments a year because I have this day job,” Severson said. “But it’s a really fun winter game where the comradery is wonderful.”

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