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Friday, February 24, 2006

Olympic Update: In Case You Missed This Yesterday

The Swedes beat the Swiss in women's curling.

This is women's curling, which isn't basically a trip to Queen Latifah's beauty shop to see who can create a perm the most quickly. Thankfully, there aren't judges like there are in figure skating, although in perm creation you would think that you'd need them because quality would have to count for something.

(I only thought of Queen Latifah when, at the beginning of the Olympics, a headling on the Philadelphia Inquirer's sports page reported that the U.S. men's hockey team was playing Lativa. Imagine the possibilities of crossing one of the Baltic State's with the popular U.S. singer and actress. Did that mean that they were playing her music in the locker room while preparing to play the Baltic State's hockey team? As early in the morning as I read the paper, it was confusing).

Much has been written about this sport, which is about as easy to comprehend as luge or skeleton, the latter which will put your remains into a cadaver laboratory if you're not careful, because if you miss-slide while hurtling downhill at 70+ miles per hour head first your helmet won't totally protect you from the head trauma that is likely to occur. Curling, in contrast, strikes me as a bunch of neighbors getting together using Swiffers to push the world's heaviest pie tins down an icy driveway, while some of their family members help aid the pie tin while using household brooms (or the brushes that you use to clear off your car after a snowstorm) into what's called the target area. If that analogy doesn't work, think of a bunch of old men wearing fedoras, Bermuda shorts, knee-high dark socks, white loafers and smoking ten-cent stogies playing shuffleboard at some Borchst Belt resort in the 1940's. Only, put them in Olympic team sweats, turn the shuffleboard court into ice, and have some teammates try to aid the slide of the discs into the target area.

Oh, yeah, and take away the nifty fedoras, the dime-store cigars and the copy of The Racing Form that Leo from Bensonhurst had rolled up under his arm while worrying about claims races at Belmont.

Come to think of it, perhaps it would be entertaining to have the old guys wearing the shorts, the tank-top undershirts and smoking the stogies compete in this event than the folks who do resemble the people you'd see at your house of worship or at an event at your kid's school. Maybe they should don mullets or up-dos, adopt Pro Wrestling personas and do New Zealand national team rugby chants before the contests begin. The only worse thing than watching the curling reports on TV right now would be if NBC were to cover an event from beginning to end. After all, roughly translated curling has 10 innings to baseball's 9, and there really aren't such thrills as a grand-slam home run, stretching a double into a triple, or watching El Duque throw back-door sliders to get his team out of a jam in the ALCS with the bases loaded and nobody out.

I am certain that the Swedish and Swiss women who compete in curling work hard at their craft and take their pastime very seriously. It's just that certain things get lost in translation in countries that don't share the same passion for waching secondary-school trigonometry teachers sliding concrete Bundt cakes on iced-over dance floors as people who hail from countries where ice is usually mentioned in conjunction with a lunchtime beverage order.

As in, "Hey, hon, do you want ice with that?"

In an era where cultures get merged frequently to provide unique experiences, combining your old time shuffleboard and bocce players -- and their unique period-piece getups that would qualify them for extras in a forty-year old mob movie -- with the treacheries of slippery paths would probably make Olympic curling an experience to which we all could better relate.

Give the old guys funky hair cuts, switch out the leaden Bundt cakes for bags of groceries that include fresh eggs, break out the cigars and let them trash talk, and then the ratings would start to sky.

To about half that of American Idol's.


Blogger Amateur said...

Actually the ratings for curling have been very good.

Just not in the USA.

And curling is enormous in Canada, probably second only to ice hockey in terms of those-guys-had-better-win-the-gold-or-we-won't-know-who-we-are-as-Canadians-any-more pressure.

The women's team won bronze; the men's team plays in the gold-medal game today and schools in Newfoundland will be closed so the kids can watch.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous tim in tampa said...

Curling has been among the highest-rated of the NBC networks' programming.

On television, initial curling ratings were up 306 percent from Salt Lake City -- 15 of the 16 U.S. matches were televised -- 12 of them live. There was no televised curling coverage from Nagano. "We're getting a lot of e-mails saying they wish they could watch curling more often," Johnson said. "They can't wait for Vancouver."

It all depends on where you're from. Curling was big where I grew up, or at least it was at BG. I've been a curling fan since I was a wee lad.

Oh, and stretching a double into a triple? Try stretching a single into a quadruple... something that happened at least twice during this year's games, that I saw.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Don said...


May I suggest a link related to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games?

Our site:

Title: Beijing Olympics

Please let me know if you want a link back.
Many thanks for your reply.

Best Regards,


2:07 AM  

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