There was an article about Olympic curling a few days ago. The writer knew nothing at all about the game, but became hooked almost immediately by its foreignness and its ludicrousness. Here are a few of his thoughts.
For all those people who have not heard the jokes, curling is a game invented in Scotland some 400 years ago in order to see if Scottish men were stupid enough to walk across a frozen lake carrying 40 pound stones. They were, and they probably blame the English for all those men who disappeared every winter. Presumably this game was also invented after the invention of life insurance, so their wives didn’t mind very much.
The object of this sport is to be more boring to watch than baseball. This is accomplished by making two teams push large stones with handles on them (the stones, not the teams) and put their stones closest to the centre of a large target that is painted on the ice. But, rather than just making it a shuffleboard contest, there are sweepers that can help the rock slide along the ice, captains that put together strategy for putting rocks on the target while knocking the other team’s rocks off, and a scoring system that makes not a bit of sense the first couple of times you watch the game.
This creates a game of precision and position that has been described as “chess on ice.” And you know how exciting chess is.
It’s not that you should feel sorry for the people who do curling and all the guff they’ve gotten for playing a thoroughly ridiculous game. Curlers do look pretty silly and they sound even sillier when they are yelling at each other while furiously “swiffering” in front of a rock that is sliding across a sheet of ice. It is truly a sport that transcends the world of merely silly and moves into the realm of the outright ludicrous. You almost get the idea that they are making up the rules as they go along.
But a favourite aspect of curling is the unspoiled nature of the game. The people who make curling are making curling because they are curling makers. The people who spectate curling are spectating curling because they are curling spectators.
There are no cheerleaders, there are no obnoxious announcers telling the crowd to make some noise, and you are not assaulted by mediocre pop songs that everyone in the crowd is already sick of. Never be subjected to “Who Let the Dogs Out” when you watch curling.
In fact, the only extra noise at a curling meet will be the people who are there for the sole purpose of watching a curling derby.
If you would like to learn how to curl and then participate in a curling derby, come to the Eastlink Curling Centre and find out how.