What's Up with Curling?

By Ralph Hipp

Okay, I liked watching the moguls (that quick downhill skiing with the little bumps and jumps) and who can resist the pairs figure skating?  After a while seeing more pairs skating at the Vancouver Olympics on our TV set in the newsroom Monday night made me think.. "you're getting sleepy, you're getting very sleepy.." 

But come on.. what's up with curling?

Quite a few Olympic sports brought down from the mountains of Greece centuries ago were war-game type competitions.. the javelin throwing, archery.. and on the winter side, that event where you ski for a while and shoot targets (ski shooting?  I'm just kidding.. but what is that event called??)   But curling, which returned as an Olympic sport 12 years ago, must have come from the famous battle of two senior centers in Miami.  It looks like shuffleboard on ice!  I found the U.S.-Germany curling contest on cable Tuesday morning, and not wanting to be the "ugly American" I sat down to watch, and learn more about curling.

The network crew explained the rules, and it looks pretty cool.  Two teams get seven "ends" sort of like innings to slide 4 or 5 "stones" down the lane.  Not a triangle at the other end like shuffleboard.. they aim for the button and the forefoot in the middle of the target.  They get a point for each stone that's closer to the stone from the opposing team.  As I kept watching, the announcers talked more about the strategy of the contest.. the speed of the stone, how they use those little brushes to speed it up or slow it down, to guide it where the team wants it.  You can knock out another guy's stone like horseshoes, or guard your own stone.

So I'm actually starting to like curling.. heck, I would even like to try to play it sometime.  Curling, anyone? 

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