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My First Brush With Curling

(Courtesy MCT)

I am really quite late to the curling frenzy that is sweeping the world right now. But seeking to catch up as quickly as possible, I watched my first match just minutes ago. It was a very tight contest between Sweden and Great Britain that went to 11 ends. Sweden was the eventual victor, delaying Keith Olbermann by 16 minutes for his 8pm start time on MSNBC.

I am sure Keith didn’t mind one bit because it was an absolute nail-biter. The arena was thick with tension as the Swedish skip pushed off confidently from the hack. The stone seemed to glide hesitantly at first but the sweeping work of the Swedish lead and second was simply superb. You could see by the looks on the faces of the British team that they would, regrettably, be on the receiving end of a rousing broom stacking later that night. As everyone knows, though the beer is free, it is only gratis because you lost the contest.

But I digress. The yellow stone was guided smartly toward the house and just when it seemed it would stop short, slipped ever so gingerly right to the edge of the button. Then just like that, Sweden had completed its stirring come-from-behind effort after having tied up the contest in the 10th end using a clever tick and emerged with their dramatic victory over the Brits to head to the semi-finals of the Olympic bonspiel.

I was so moved by my first extended curling-viewing experience that I immediately turned to the World Wide Web, hungry for more information. I found out curling originated in Scotland in the early 1600’s, the best stones are made of Ailsite granite and they go for $1,500.

I also found out that curling humor is, well, puckish. Here are two curling jokes, courtesy of Sportsjokecafe.com:

Manager phones the home of an employee and gets one of the children on the phone.

“Could I speak to your dad, please”

“My mom and dad are away at a curling bonspiel”

“Well when your dad gets home ask him to phone his boss at work, I need to know how long he’ll be away with his broken leg”

But, wait, there’s more (with apologies to my religious friends):

Is curling a biblical sport? Yes, replied Jesus: “Let he who is without spin cast the first stone.”

There are some things I already knew about curling. For some odd reason I have visited nearly every major city in Canada and have many Canadian friends. So what I know is certain about curling, is that going to a bonspiel (a tournament) is actually an excuse to get completely shit-faced. This totally explains why anyone would think the two jokes above come anywhere close to resembling humor, as it is traditionally defined.

The only other observation I would make after my intimate brush (get it, get it?) with curling is that, every now and again, it is fun to visit another planet.

Categories: Culture, Sports Tags: , , , ,
  1. Jim Hawk
    February 26, 2010 at 12:22 am

    I became a curling fan watching Canadian TV in Detroit back in the 70’s, way back when they used real brooms. These modern sweeps look so much like a kitchen tool, I have to laugh sometimes when I see the furious sweeping. Hey, you can do my kitchen floor too ! Also gotta love Canada’s women’s skip, Cheryl Bernard – the picture of grace and zen as she releases the stone, then a strict task master when she’ll sometime yell “HARD!” at her sweeping crew. Some call it shuffleboard on ice, but to me it’s a giant-sized pool game with a little bowling thrown in.

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