February 21, 2006
While short-track skating is my favorite
sport at the Winter Games, I have a soft spot for curling. I lived
in upstate New York for four years, right on the Quebec border, and often
woke up on Saturday mornings to curling competitions on television.
The better I got to know the sport, the more I liked it. After a late
Friday night and a hectic work week, there was something comforting about
spending a morning on the couch watching people slip and slide with brooms
and giant stones, yelling at each other and at the ice, all the while trying
to keep it cool.
Another reason I like curling is the historian in me: its history is
foggy, but we know it’s old, likely originating sometime in 16th century
Scotland. The first match of record took place in 1540, when a Scottish
monk in Paisley challenged the lay governor to a game, but it didn’t hit
American shores the mid-18th century, and became popular with the first waves
of Scottish immigrants in the early 19th century.
While increasing in popularity, it remains somewhat of an odd sport to the
American fan. Its centerpiece is the curling stone, which weighs 42
pounds, and the match takes place on a patch of ice more than twice the length
of a bowling alley.
Here in Torino, Italian fans are enjoying curling perhaps more than anything,
with its television ratings soaring. Those in the seats are quite racous,
chanting things like “JEEPERS, CREEPERS, WHERE’D YA GET THOSE SWEEPERS” as
the athletes scrub the ice furiously in an attempt to manipulate where the
stones end up.
So give it a try – it’s pretty addictive – and it is a rare thing in the
Untied States to be able to watch curling at the elite level on television.
And I’ll even offer a prediction: the American men? Pretty good.
As in, win-a-medal good.
H A V E A
Q U E S T I O N F O R D R . B A S S
D U R I N G T H E W I N T E R G A M E S ?
L I C K H E R E
We will be posting
the questions and answers
on the CNR At
The Winter Games website!
m o r e
Be sure to check back often for Dr. Amy Bass's
updates to her
Online CNR Winter Olympic Games Diary.
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