Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Few, The Proud, The Curling Team

I was brushing my teeth on my way to bed after watching the end of an Olympic hockey game when curling started. I should have turned off the TV as soon as the game was over, but now I'm going to be late for work tomorrow. It's fun to watch for a little while, even though it's a little slow. It's one of those games you'd love to play at a barbecue...if you had a barbecue on a frozen pond.

Curling is amazing, and not because it's fascinating. It's amazing because it's actually in the Olympics. It's the only event in the Olympics that, even though I've never...uh...played it...I feel like I could compete at it by the next Olympics. I'm not saying it's easy (Ian), because I'm sure it's not, but come on.

Allow me to explain. There's a guy on the U.S. Curling team that is built like me. No Olympic athlete should look anything like me. Chubby white guys are good at Jeopardy, and for now, that's not an Olympic event.

How mad would you be if you're a hockey player and you see the curling team? You've trained your whole life, and you're truly one of the world's elite athletes. You play in the NHL, but you get a couple weeks off to represent your country in the Olympics. But Canada and Russia are so loaded, you're not likely to get a medal. Or say you are somebody like Alex Ovechkin from Russia, or Sidney Crosby from Canada and you win Gold. Then you wander into the curling arena and see some fat guy getting a Gold medal for pushing a rock across the ice.

And when you look closer, you notice that Gold medal is the exact same one that Crosby or Ovechkin got. That just doesn't seem right to me.

I mean really, how do you find out you're a great curler? You're probably the best in your Thursday night league. You probably participate in some tournaments on the weekends and get tips from your buddies in chat rooms or on some blog.

On the other hand, how do you find out you're a great hockey player? You've been on skates since before you could suit up with the Termites. You practiced every day since you were four, then came home and hit a golf ball around the house with your stick, and lifted weights, and ate right; and even though thousands of kids all over America or Canada or Russia were doing the same thing, you were always the best on the ice. So when you were 14, you moved away from home to play Midgets, then Juniors, then Major-Juniors, or College Hockey, then the NHL, and at every level, you were the best.

And both of those competitors go to the same Olympics, competing for the same medal. If you're still not convinced, watch Curling and tell yourself these are the best athletes in the world. If you can do that, I'm wrong. Either way, it's always nice to see a regular guy have a chance at being a world-class athlete.


  1. The Curling sport requires Athletes who posses the utmost skill in flexibility and balance! Take the skates off a Hockey player and he would look like Jim Carey walking on the ice. Not too many people can stretch and speed walk on ice, let alone just walk. One has to be an Olympian to do such things!

  2. Matt and I just had a conversation about how to get on the curling team. I guess our US team is three college roomates. No joke, they entered the National tournament- which consisted of literally 10 teams. They had a 10% chance of getting into the olymics. I guess there is an opportunity for anyone to win gold.
    Stephanie V