Every four years, I am gripped with a strange sensation. When the Winter Olympics roll around, I become transfixed, absorbed and consumed. Not by the spectacle, not by the striving of athletes at the top of their form, not by the wide variety of sporting events.
Nope. It’s so much more specific than that.
I come down with Curling Fever.
Between Olympics, I don’t give Curling a second thought. But something about Olympic Curling grabs me, and I can’t get enough.
The epic battle between national teams, the delicate interplay between skips and sweepers, the strategy of rock placement, the counterpoint between the delicate delivery of the stone and having the “hammer”…it’s all quite compelling.
Curling reminds me of baseball, in that the basics are easy to grasp for the novice watcher. But like baseball, or the proverbial onion, Curling has layer upon layer of subtleties and nuances. Plus it’s a sport that features players who look like your mail carrier or the checkout person at the supermarket.
That’s not to denigrate their skills. Far from it. Curling looks at first blush to be fairly easy, like bowling. But upon trying it ourselves, we discover otherwise.
Plus, it has the one thing I always appreciate in an Olympic sport: no judges. No opinions are necessary to determine the winner.
And if it’s quirks and caprices you crave, Curling’s got ’em in spades. To wit:
- Curling is known as “chess on ice”…watch one game and you’ll see why.
- Both the men’s and women’s teams representing Great Britain are made up entirely of Scots, which makes sense, since Curling was invented in medieval Scotland in 1541.
- The skip of China’s women’s team is named Wang Bingyu…but her nickname is “Betty”.
- In addition to their medal-contending skills, the Norwegian men’s team is known for their wild outfits.
I certainly am not advocating my level of obsession, but it can’t hurt to check out Curling. Can it? But hurry or you’ll miss it.
In the meantime, if I’m inaccessible for the next few days, and there is big-time Curling going on…well, you do the math.
Today’s Fact Cetera
A Curling tournament is called a “Bonspiel”.