Day Five: In Defense Of Curling
With the Olympics about a quarter done, let’s run through the comments to see if there is anything amiss. And, sad to report, there is. One of us came with: “curling would be more fun to watch if the competitors carried rifles.” This instigated a right-hand-menu poll, in which the question was asked: “what would get you to watch curling?” BC Bud is leading “weapons-grade Roombas” at the moment.
Hold. Up. You’re in my house now, as — yes — a former curler.
Took up the sport while in Madison. Would curl now, if the rinks weren’t all the way up in North Bumblefuck — a lovely little town which would be an hour and a half away from downtown at rush hour, thus making me late for the start.
Why do I dig curling? It’s Rule No. 1, entitled “The Spirit of Curling.” Follow me post-jump, please.
The rule (from the PDF of the World Curling Federation’s Rules of Curling):
Curling is a game of skill and of tradition. A shot well executed is a delight to see and it is also a fine thing to observe the time-honoured traditions of curling being applied in the true spirit of the game. Curlers play to win, but never to humble their opponents. A true curler never attempts to distract opponents, nor to prevent them from playing their best, and would prefer to lose rather than to win unfairly.
Curlers never knowingly break a rule of the game, nor disrespect any of its traditions. Should they become aware that this has been done inadvertently, they will be the first to divulge the breach.
While the main object of the game of curling is to determine the relative skill of the players, the spirit of curling demands good sportsmanship, kindly feeling and honourable conduct.
This spirit should influence both the interpretation and the application of the rules of the game and also the conduct of all participants on and off the ice.
And thus you have curlers calling their own fouls. And the handshakes before and after the game. And the losers buying the first round, and the winners buying the second. Just like it should work in real life.
And there’s the fact that determining the winner and the loser in the game doesn’t require a doctorate. Cross-country and the sliding events are pure objectivity — guy who crosses first wins. Alpine skiing is also objective, except for moguls and aerials. Speed skating is close, too — but with short-track, you get some judging of the inevitable collisions. Refs also get in the mix in hockey, certainly.
Then it gets worse from there. Snowboarders are judged most of the time (except for the snowboard cross, source of another gold today for U.S. America.) Judging has taken a simple thing like ski jumping and made it incomprehensible. And figure skating makes even less sense now than it did 20 years ago.
Curling? If your stones are closer to the button, you score points. The… fucking… end.
I could go on, but instead I will invite y’all to actually set the DVR for curling over on USA and CNBC for the next few days.
Also on USA: the men’s hockey tourney gets underway — the U.S. hockey club takes on the Swiss. The wimmin get Team Russia over on MSNBC in the late afternoon. The Mothership has men’s biathalon in the afternoon. So: plenty of good options before the inevitable overload on the men’s short program.