Looking back at my recently resurrected commentary of the 2010 Winter Olympics I realize I gave the sport of Curling a bad time.
I stand corrected…why you may ask?
Well…Check this out
or one for the ladies
Sorry gals…I guess the guys in the sport are a bit more inhibited.
So lets see what all the fuss is about.
Curling is thought to have been invented in medieval Scotland. According to medieval tapestries curling was invented by two Scotsmen who owned one of the first golf courses. An early freeze threatened to cancel one of their profitable golf tournaments so they dug up a bunch of pond stones and introduced the world to what they called Ice Shuffleboard.
The first world championship for curling was known as the “Scotch Cup”, held in 1959. The first world title was won by the Canadian team. From then on it was known as the Canadian Whiskey Cup.
The size of the court was originally the distance a Scottish housewife could throw a haggis, but the official distance is now exactly 45 or maybe 50 meters long, or as far as an adult Canadian can pitch a beer can.
The following explanation is from the Official Curling Handbook:
The purpose of the game is to score points by getting stones closer to the house center, or the “button”. The thrower throws from the hack. Another player, usually the skip, is stationed behind the button inside the house . The stone is released at the hog line and the players, with the exception of the skip, take turns throwing and sweeping; when one player throws, the players not throwing sweep. When the skip throws, the third, or vice-skip, takes his role.
Well that explains about…hmmm…nothing.
I think the easiest way to understand this is to think of Gilligan’s Island. The Skipper (the skip) tells Gilligan to find some rocks by the beach. Walking back through the jungle he comes across a frozen pond caused by a weird weather anomaly that only the Professor can explain. He drops the stones and they slide across the ice. They form an electromagnetic formation that becomes a radio and he can hear a Coast Guard ship just a few miles away. Gilligan grabs the stones and runs to tell everyone. The Professor attempts to reposition the stones as they were. The Skipper slides them out on the ice as Gilligan and Mary Ann push them around with brooms. Meanwhile…
Mr. Howell is working on a new thing called sub-prime mortgages.
Ginger is on the Coconut Telephone yelling at her manager, saying she’ll never get back to Broadway being on this stupid show.
Mrs. Howell wanders off into the jungle and gets eaten by a polar bear.
There. Now we all understand.
There is also this thing called “The Spirit of Curling”. Even at the highest levels of play players are expected to “call their own fouls”. Most importantly, the Spirit of Curling dictates that one never cheers mistakes or misses by one’s opponent. It is completely unacceptable to attempt to throw opposing players off their game by way of negative comment, distraction or heckling.
This is why American colleges don’t have Curling Teams.
In our next episode we look at the popularity of Olympic Team Sports Calendars.