What Exactly Is Curling?
February 15, 2014 11:41 PM   Subscribe

A    gentle      slow     sport    -   with brooms and yelling

A Curling primer for those of you that were wondering about the most subtle winter Olympic sport.
posted by vapidave (93 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
This too.
posted by vapidave at 11:44 PM on February 15, 2014


They seem me curlin' (some language, sexist lyrics)
posted by greenhornet at 11:47 PM on February 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


HARRRRRRRRRD!!!
posted by planetesimal at 11:47 PM on February 15, 2014


Or as Linda Smith said, housework on ice.
posted by dudleian at 11:49 PM on February 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Simply put, -it's the best olympic team sport ever. Nowhere else does skill, nerve, strategy and luck intersect so perfectly.
posted by onesidys at 11:49 PM on February 15, 2014 [20 favorites]


And cats!!!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:50 PM on February 15, 2014 [4 favorites]


Curling is awesome. It makes me want to get up off the coach and stop being a lazybutt. Not enough to get up off the coach, of course, but enough to make me feel bad about it.

So many Canadians though, eh?
posted by Justinian at 11:53 PM on February 15, 2014


And with HD video, it's just visual crack. Can't wait for 4k coverage in 2018! You can see the pebbling and melting of the ice then!
posted by planetesimal at 11:58 PM on February 15, 2014


According to Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy, curling is how the highlanders take out the trash in the morning.
posted by all the versus at 12:00 AM on February 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you press as hard as you can and sweep as fast as you can, and hustle from one end to the other, curling is pretty crazy intense cardio.
posted by lastobelus at 12:30 AM on February 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


I had a conversation once where I tried to get someone to give me a straight answer to this, and they couldn't or wouldn't. Perhaps they felt that any definition would falsify the multi-faceted nature of the sport. It degraded to me asking things like "Suppose I go down to the dump to shoot rats. Is that curling?".
posted by thelonius at 12:41 AM on February 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I keep calling what they throw "rocks" instead of "stones". I am surprised that no one's taken away my passport yet for that crime.
posted by maudlin at 12:45 AM on February 16, 2014


Maudlin- they do call it shot rock so I doubt anyone is going to revoke your card or anything.
posted by karlos at 12:59 AM on February 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


One of the many great things about curling is that the teams wear microphones; it may be the only sport where the strategy discussions of both sides are broadcast, so the commentators and viewers can follow along.
posted by Ed The Sock at 1:06 AM on February 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


How It's Made: Curling Stones.
posted by Splunge at 1:06 AM on February 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


I have a curling story from Vancouver in 2010.

Towards the end of the Olympics, I think it was the Friday or Saturday of the final weekend, I got off a night shift and caught the bus home from the North Shore into downtown. I was somewhat sleepy but gradually I noticed some buzz from the rest of the passengers, whispering, pointing, taking pictures of a guy sitting at the front reading a newspaper. Didn't think too much of it, there were obviously a lot of athletes and other celebrities around the city at the time (favorite encounter was Will Arnett, story for another time). But this guy looked like a middle-aged businessman on his way to the office.

I get home and I'm not planning to sleep since I have to be back on a regular schedule on Monday. An hour later or so I get a text from a friend asking if I want to come over to get drunk and watch the gold medal curling match. Sure, I reply. Get another text - "Bring a Broom!". Apparently the plan is to get drunk while waving our brooms from the couch and screaming "Hurry Hard", cause that's how we roll in Canada. So I get over there, I'm trying to catch up with my already drunk friends, have a bit of a buzz, it's like noon or so and the match starts. I choke on my beer when I see Kevin Martin on the ice - he was the guy on the bus.

Dude took the city bus to his gold medal match, which he won. I guess that's also how we roll up here.
posted by mannequito at 1:29 AM on February 16, 2014 [62 favorites]


I just love the way the person who slides the stone stretches out on bent knee and trailing leg,
sliding with the stone even after the stone has been let go. The aesthetic of that alone makes it for me.
It’s very sensual and beautiful.
posted by quazichimp at 2:20 AM on February 16, 2014 [10 favorites]


One of the interesting things to me is the change in the fitness of the competitors. Especially the U.S. and Canadian men's curling teams. In '06 and '10 when it was dudes around my age with beer guts and I thought, "Hey, maybe I could win a gold medal." Now they're all younger guys who look like they work out at least four times a week. I guess my last hope is archery.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:20 AM on February 16, 2014


The best man at my wedding curls (or did until his twins were born anyway) and we went to watch him once at the Broomstones Curling Club. Besides the free potluck lunch and the beer, it was really fun watching with someone who knows what's going on. My favorite curling fact is that the sole of the leading shoe and the top of the trailing shoe are both covered in Teflon.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:10 AM on February 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


The other night I watched Curling (which I seriously thought was called Sweeping) for the first time....I still don't know what the hell was happening. So thanks for this!
posted by littlesq at 3:11 AM on February 16, 2014


It makes me want to get up off the coach

If that's how I have to get on the team, I'm going to stick to crown green bowls.
posted by cromagnon at 3:12 AM on February 16, 2014


I tried curling once. You have one very slippery shoe-sole and one very sticky one. Takes a bit of getting used to not to break an ankle.
posted by genuinely curious at 3:14 AM on February 16, 2014


Simply put, -it's the best olympic team sport ever. Nowhere else does skill, nerve, strategy and luck intersect so perfectly.

onesidys, I'm not sure what sport you're talking about but I've been curling for 20 years and luck has very little to do with doing well in curling. In fact, one of the things I love about curling is that there are zero shortcuts to becoming good. Very few people are "naturals."

Being good at the sport means knowing the subtle difference in how hard you push out of the hack between a rock that lands perfectly in the rings and one that stops short (regardless of sweeping). Being good means picking up a little ridge on the ice that other people don't see where a rock will run more straight than other areas, and being able to take advantage of it. Being good means knowing that a rock you throw with the same intensity won't travel as far in the eighth end, after the pebble has worn down, as it did in the third end.

The only way you learn those things is reps. Experience. And focus. Those subtleties are the difference between the curlers you see at the Olympics and, well, me. They've curled thousands of ends and learned how to make those particular angels dance on pinheads. I curl once a week so I can have a beer when it's over. It ain't because they're luckier.

Also, maudlin, calling them "rocks" is perfectly kosher. Your hoser cred is intact!
posted by dry white toast at 3:30 AM on February 16, 2014 [22 favorites]


Remember people, no zamboni guy, no curling.
posted by ouke at 3:40 AM on February 16, 2014


According to this tweet, Thomas Pynchon "has an encyclopaedic knowledge of international curling. "
posted by chavenet at 3:50 AM on February 16, 2014


Ok, great. Now can someone explain how shot accuracy is calculated? It looks more arcane than baseball scorekeeping hit/error determinations.
posted by persona at 3:59 AM on February 16, 2014


curling is pretty crazy intense cardio

Unless you're the skip (captain), in which case you exert very little physical effort, beyond yelling a confusing signal that may mean sweep ("GO") or don't sweep ("NO").
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:34 AM on February 16, 2014


Remember people, no zamboni guy, no curling.

Sorry, your application for Canadian citizenship has been rejected. A zamboni would completely ruin the pebbled ice surface. (More info.)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:38 AM on February 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


beyond yelling a confusing signal that may mean sweep ("GO") or don't sweep ("NO").

I have never heard any skip say "go" ever. It's "Yep" and then it's "Hurry Hard" and then it's "HAAAAAAAAARD!!!!!"
posted by Sys Rq at 4:43 AM on February 16, 2014


It's a sport where women can wear big giant earrings.
posted by readyfreddy at 4:48 AM on February 16, 2014


I have never heard any skip say "go" ever. It's "Yep" and then it's "Hurry Hard" and then it's "HAAAAAAAAARD!!!!!"

And it's not "no," it's "off" or "right off."
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:49 AM on February 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Also, curling is not a sport.
posted by readyfreddy at 4:55 AM on February 16, 2014


Love curling. A thinking person's team sport. If they'd replace all those interminable hours of figure skating with curling, I'd be a happy camper.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:56 AM on February 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I enjoy watching it betimes -- am I right in thinking a tournament is called a bonspiel? -- but I must say that I find the slow-motion instant replays kind of funny.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:04 AM on February 16, 2014


The CBC has been pointing out daily how the Jones team -- Canadian women's curling -- spends hours in the gym every day. And a lot of the men's teams are wearing very tight shirts that show off some very nice upper bodies.

(I have been watching all the curling webcasts, yes.)
posted by jeather at 5:15 AM on February 16, 2014


In the same way that I don't understand why The dBs never became as big as The Beatles, I don't understand why we don't have curling on TV every weekend like we have football. It really is the best sport.
posted by pasici at 5:25 AM on February 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


It’s very sensual and beautiful

Never watch me curl if you want to retain this illusion. Think bambi on ice.
posted by arcticseal at 5:30 AM on February 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was never ever into curling.

Until a truly massive hangover after a cast party when I was 17. Laying on my friend's sofa wanting to die, drinking the remnants of a tequila & iced tea (I was 17, ok), curling was what happened to be on when I turned on the TV.

Spent the next four hours watching it. I don't seek out curling to watch but if it's on I'm not unlikely to watch for an hour, especially at Olympic level. (Not this year because Russia but still).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:31 AM on February 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


My dad and I went to an open house at a small local curling club a few years back... after a quick crash course in rules and strategy they turn you lose on the sheet and let you curl a few ends (somebody from the club is right there telling you what to try to do.) It's really interesting and quite a lot of fun. I keep telling myself that someday, when I have the extra money kicking around for dues, I'm going to join. There is a general sense of niceness that pervades curling... after a game it is a pretty deeply rooted tradition for the winning team to buy the first round. That's my kind of sport!
posted by usonian at 5:37 AM on February 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


...hey central-New England MeFites, we should totally have a curling meetup! You can rent the club for an afternoon and members are there to tell you what the hell you're supposed to be doing. I don't know what the rates are now, but a few years ago it was quite reasonable; with enough people (up to 32 on the ice) it would probably come out to $10-15 a person.
posted by usonian at 5:42 AM on February 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


I curled semi-competitively in high school (not much to do in a small town in the winter when you suck at hockey), so I am completely within my rights to say this:

Curling is SOOO SLOOOOW. It's one round of shuffleboard stretched out to two hours. If you're a lead or second, you're basically standing in one spot waiting for about half of your ice time. There's a reason why people take up the game in their 70s.
posted by Popular Ethics at 6:01 AM on February 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Now they're all younger guys who look like they work out at least four times a week.


Yeah- WTF, Norway? This guy looks like he doesn't even drink!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:29 AM on February 16, 2014


I curled for my school. This didn't really count for much, as the local schools league contained a team that went on to do great things internationally, and even as 15 year olds, they owned the ice. We usually managed to not quite come last, which was good enough for us. Curling got us out of rugby, and didn't quite have the stigma of chess club.

Our school was within walking distance of a rink, which the other teams always thought unfair, but it wasn't so much of a rink as a frosted disappointment. Crossmyloof had originally been the first covered rink in Scotland, but it was waiting for the wrecking ball when we played there in the mid-80s. Ceiling drips turned the sheets into an obstacle course. Sections of ceiling tile would fall with wet splatches onto the ice, and if the staff weren't quick enough to lever them off, they'd become perma-berms.

We young 'uns cursed the Canadians for leaving their straw-broom chaff everywhere, and the old men cursed the gamesmanship of the Canadians for requiring the hog line rules to counter the teflon slides. The old men would have none of this newfangled “Hurry” nonsense; if “Soop!” (sweep) was good enough for their grandfaithers, well ...

Every month, we'd pile into the curling teacher's car (it was a Capri, so a leetle cramped) for a tournament to exotic places like Greenacres (where you could buy local tatties by the sack, and be alarmed by local Young Farmers teams playing “Drink a lot and see how many curling stones you can hoist over your head” [one lummed-up lummox managed two in each hand before passing out]) and Gogar (where the bar staff might not always notice your SCHOOLS badge as they poured you a rum and coke). Being out in the first round, we'd usually be driven back early. Good times.

At least we didn't have to wear hame-knitted curling sweaters
posted by scruss at 7:21 AM on February 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


There is a general sense of niceness that pervades curling... after a game it is a pretty deeply rooted tradition for the winning team to buy the first round.

I used to curl in the IBM Canada rec league. (That's right, folks, up here in Canada, we have corporate intramural curling leagues.) My team's motto was "The worst that can happen is we get a free drink."
posted by jacquilynne at 7:46 AM on February 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Curling is an amazing TV sport since they mic the players. You can hear all the discussion about strategy so if you know the game, you can learn a ton.

The amusing side effect of that is that if you watch a lot during a concentrated period and you play, some shots that are way out of your league start to seem plausible. I guarantee that when I get back on the ice after the Olympics, I'm going to see at least one angle-raise-double take-out that will look doable.
posted by dry white toast at 8:18 AM on February 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why we don't have curling on TV every weekend like we have football.

Seriously. It seems like a sport perfectly designed for TV. The action is active enough, but slow enough that you can analyze it properly while it is in play, at a game level, more easily than, say, baseball or hockey. Add to that nice, steady camera angles, strategy talk of the teams, coinciding with that of the commentators, and a sport which theoretically anyone can play -- there's a sense of involvement that you don't really see anywhere else.

The only reason not to watch curling is because you know your afternoon is going to be shot.

Skill, strategy, rules of play steeped in fairness and decency, and it's both exciting and thoroughly pleasant. A perfectly lovely sport.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:19 AM on February 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


Love curling. I started at a club that had a liquor license for the ice shed, so you could get a pitcher of beer at the bar (with plastic cups naturally) and take it with you to drink during your game. It was perfect.

Sadly lawyers and insurance people (I think) have stopped this practice. Now we only drink after the game (and between games), and sometimes before the game.

Has anyone mentioned that Curling has an official rule that the winning team buys the first round?
posted by anthill at 8:38 AM on February 16, 2014


The thing you have to consider about curling as a big sport is that it's inherently kind of classist. Football, all you really need is a ball and some open ground to learn how to play. Curling means a lot more investment in equipment and club dues, or so it seems to me.

Yeah, I know, hockey requires similar outlays and yet it's played all across Canada.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:02 AM on February 16, 2014


Curling at a recreational level requires club dues, but not much else. You don't have to buy your own rocks or your own broom and there's usually free teflon tape you can use in place of a slider, but even buying a slider is about $10 at Canadian tire.

Relative to playing a pickup game of football in an empty bit of grass (not sure if you mean handegg or soccer) it might be pricey, but relative to playing any of those things at any kind of organized level, where there are field rentals and nets and jerseys and whatnot, it's not any more expensive.

Assuming you have a curling rink in your area (a big assumption, I realize, outside of Canada) it's not a particularly expensive sport to pick up, especially relative to most winter sports that have much more demanding equipment requirements (skis are expensive and so are lift tickets), more specialized facilities (where's the nearest formal ski jumping facility?), and less opportunity to play recreationally (I don't even know how one gets the chance to ride a bobsled).

If you want to curl at a local competitive level, the costs can increase to a certain point, but even fully outfitting yourself with good curling gear can be done for about $500, and it'll last multiple seasons. Curling only really gets expensive when you start to play at a serious competitive level and get into travelling to away bonspiels -- but the costs associated with that probably aren't much different than playing in a competitive team of any other kind.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:16 AM on February 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


Awesome vibe within the sport from what I've seen - I curled for a couple years (was pretty crappy to start). Everyone I met was down to earth, welcoming and super friendly - it seems to attract a great cross section of folks - my experience was the very opposite of classist.

And the 'winners buy losers first round' is brilliant.

If you haven't tried curling, I heartily recommend - you'll have fun, and come away with an appreciation of just how insanely talented these Olympic curlers are.
posted by parki at 9:24 AM on February 16, 2014


(I don't even know how one gets the chance to ride a bobsled).

Do I have good news for you.

Is it weird to show up to try curling solo? I've wanted to try but been sort of put off by the idea that I'd be there alone.
posted by jeather at 9:27 AM on February 16, 2014


Jeather - not in my (limited) experience - the rink I joined had an open night for newbies. I was a single and put onto a team and had a blast - didn't know anyone, by end of season, knew a bunch of folks. I was put in lead position, and the second had a great sense of humour - we used to stand in the middle of the sheet and laugh our arses off. And then sweep, oh my, the sweeping. :)
posted by parki at 9:29 AM on February 16, 2014


Is it weird to show up to try curling solo?

Especially now, with the Olympics happening, there's a good chance your local curling club will be putting on an Open House day where you can just show up and try curling with a little lesson and a chance to throw some stones, probably for free, but certainly for cheap. If not now, then at the beginning of pretty much every season, clubs throw those events. It's totally fine to show up alone -- people sometimes come in pairs or families, but it's not a problem if you're solo, you'll just get matched up with others who didn't come in their own set of 4.

In terms of league play, it's very normal for people to enter as a single player and get put on a team. Men and women often play on different teams (though there are mixed leagues) so even couples who both curl will end up curling at different days/times. Players who've played awhile may enter as a full rink, but most newcomers to the game sign up solo.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:31 AM on February 16, 2014


Just to add to what I said above: some recreational / novice leagues actually specifically don't allow full team entry, because they want all teams to have a mix of new and somewhat experienced players so there isn't one team that basically dominates the league. Most people start out in a league like that and then move up to the more competitive leagues once they've played a couple of seasons and know a bunch of people. Curlers are, on the whole, very friendly to new faces -- friendly competition is a big part of the sport, with a heavy emphasis on friendly.

Plus, curlers drink a lot, and everyone's nicer when they're slightly inebriated.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:39 AM on February 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am baffled at any claim that it's classist. In my experience, it's actually kind of blue-collar, if anything (think about the regions of Canada where curling is most popular - the prairies, small-town and northern Ontario, etc). Maybe it's classist in countries where it's an unusual sport? In Canada pretty much any town of 5,000 people or more has a curling club with rocks, extra brooms, etc. You just need to pay very modest dues, in most cases.

I played second on my mom's curling team for a year, when I was 25 and she was 62; the other team members were a local cop and his wife, both in their late-30s/early-40s. It was great fun; the only reason I quit after one year was that I moved too far away for it to be practical to continue. It's a very open, welcoming sport, as others have said - at the rec level, gender, age, ability and experience are all of no real concern.

My mom is approaching 70 now and she still curls every week.
posted by erlking at 10:53 AM on February 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm curling for the first time this year and everybody we've played with has been friendly without exception. Curlers are good folks.
posted by arcticseal at 11:03 AM on February 16, 2014


More yelling!
posted by gingerbeer at 11:12 AM on February 16, 2014


I think perhaps I was unclear, nevermind. It's classist in the sense that to actually compete--I was responding to comments saying it should be a major sport on tv--there are not-insignificant amounts of money to be laid out. Sure, you can get fitted out for $500.. but that is a large expense for many people in this country, myself included.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:13 AM on February 16, 2014


I used to curl when I lived way the hell up north and it was indeed as sport for all ages, occupations and skill levels. Made some very good friends through curling.
It used to be one of the few sports where standard equipment at each end of the rink included a shelf for your beer and ashtray.
posted by islander at 11:14 AM on February 16, 2014


It's classist in the sense that to actually compete--I was responding to comments saying it should be a major sport on tv--there are not-insignificant amounts of money to be laid out.

So exactly like every other sport shown on tv, then?
posted by jeather at 11:16 AM on February 16, 2014


@Sys Rq sorry no offence intended. Anyways, it's called fluitketelschuiven in my neck of the woods.
posted by ouke at 11:18 AM on February 16, 2014


What does the skip say?
posted by btfreek at 11:34 AM on February 16, 2014


Yeah as jeather just said. All major sports at the truly competitive level becomes classist if we just look at the raw cost. Of course football is largely subsidized by colleges, but frankly I don't think curling would be any more/less expensive at say AAA legues, then the other big 4. Lot less protective gear needed, and not like you're going to buy your own stones. Shoes, broom, gloves, uniform...

In Duluth we have a rink and a curfling club/bar above the sheets to sit and eat/drink watch live curling, a regular date night I tell you.
posted by edgeways at 11:42 AM on February 16, 2014


Oh and I forgot, they are cuddling out on Lake Superior today. (Yes it's been cold this year)
posted by edgeways at 12:19 PM on February 16, 2014


The barrier to entry for curling is about the same as the barrier to entry for bowling.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:30 PM on February 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was googling the teams I was watching curl and... I'm not sure the outfits the Russian women's team were wearing were regulation... they seemed like they would be cold...
posted by Justinian at 2:05 PM on February 16, 2014


I think my curling fascination is attributable to Cassie Potter (née Johnson) from the '06 games. She got married soon after they ended, though I wonder if the flood of fan proposals made her fiance sweat a little...

Wikipedia: Potter unintentionally became a bit of a sex symbol during the Turin Games. Her biography page at NBC's Winter Olympics website was among the most-viewed of any U.S. athlete, [1] and she received countless marriage proposals from men all over the world at the U.S. Women's Curling Team's official blog, [2] which crashed early in the Games after receiving 12.9 million hits in one day.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:23 PM on February 16, 2014


I learned to curl just before the last Olympics and went on to join the local club and play for 3 years. I've had to stop in the last year because my schedule was insane and now I've moved a little farther away and I miss it tremendously. It's full of all kinds of people who have one overall thing in common: they love this sport and they love bringing in new people to it. Recreational curling has grown across the USA so much over the last 4-8 years (yes, because of the Olympics, no thanks to any network actually airing the other competitive games on TV notthatiambitterbutalittlebitter). It's (relatively) easy to get good-ish at it. People who where in my first learning league are now curling competitively at club nationals. But it's a big leap to be as good as the people at the Olympics are and it's getting harder all the time as the fitness requirements and international competition levels ramp up.

So I really encourage you, if you're at all curious, to try it out. Every club is going to be having one-night open houses right now to take advantage of interest. I'll plug our club and it's roster of learn-to-curls coming up. At $20 it's a steal because you're almost guaranteed to make some of that back when a club member takes you for a beer afterwards.
posted by marylynn at 2:50 PM on February 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


There really ought to be a little wireless camera array integrated into the handle assemblies on the stones.
posted by planetesimal at 3:41 PM on February 16, 2014 [1 favorite]




There really ought to be a little wireless camera array integrated into the handle assemblies on the stones.

And simultaneously, the entire nation of Canada would vomit, because the rocks turn in a circle as they run down the sheet.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:11 PM on February 16, 2014


Not always, and that's why there's an array to compensate for.
posted by planetesimal at 6:16 PM on February 16, 2014


You always need more Men with Brooms.
posted by wenat at 6:33 PM on February 16, 2014


Seems to me like the NBC coverage would benefit from the simple use of a telestrator.

And I'd like to second the earlier question about accuracy percentage.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 7:37 PM on February 16, 2014


Maybe I should organize a learn-to-curl Mefi meetup. Any Torontonians interested, memail me.
posted by anthill at 7:55 PM on February 16, 2014


Accuracy percentage is scored by judges. Shots are judged on a scale of 4 based on whether the shot does what the Skip called it to do. Draws can lose points for being too deep or not deep enough, for not being far enough behind cover, etc. Takeouts are judged on whether they successfully take out what they were supposed to and whether the shooter stays or doesn't depending on what was called.

Here's a very long powerpoint presentation that goes into all the gory details of scoring.

The important thing to remember about the percentages is that they're really just a made-for-TV statistic. They give you a sense of which players are playing well, but they aren't a meaningful element of the game itself.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:56 PM on February 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Curling is: a helluva lot of fun. IF you can find a rink!

Time to take this gift from the Canadians and slide with it. You'll never find a better excuse to wear an outragously over-decorated HEAVY sweater. ROCK OUT! And -lose- those exercise machines!
posted by Twang at 9:11 PM on February 16, 2014


just like almost any sports statistic.
posted by edgeways at 9:11 PM on February 16, 2014




Metafilter: Illegal Pants.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:05 AM on February 17, 2014


Who doesn't want illegal curling pants?
posted by krinklyfig at 7:25 AM on February 17, 2014


I think once you pass the age of about 25 without being crazy good at any other sport, curling remains your only opportunity to be an olympic athlete. You could probably take up the game in your 30s or 40s and still have a shot if you practiced enough.
posted by rocket88 at 7:28 AM on February 17, 2014


The only solution is to wear no pants.
posted by arcticseal at 7:51 AM on February 17, 2014


Oh, that's your answer for *everything*.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:18 AM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


At least we didn't have to wear hame-knitted curling sweaters …

...what do you mean? These are so badass, I want to take up curling just so I can wear one.
posted by inertia at 12:15 PM on February 17, 2014


With the way the American teams have fared, I wonder if it'll actually inspire more people to take up the sport than would have otherwise. I just imagine a lot of "What the...? I can do better than that!"
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:44 PM on February 17, 2014


i started to get serious about curling but had to give it up because my liver couldn't take it.

*not my joke, and i would attribute if i could remember the comedian who said it, and also apologize because i'm sure he said it better.
posted by ecourbanist at 3:40 PM on February 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


and to whoever said curling on tv is like crack...exactly!

i've been snarking on it my whole life, until one night last week when i stopped flipping at a match between the canadian women and some asian country where i can't imagine they have more than a few dozen people who have ever thrown a stone. now i'm enthralled. it's like watching a sport where everything is in slo-mo replay. and then they do a slo-mo replay!
posted by ecourbanist at 3:49 PM on February 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


With the way the American teams have fared, I wonder if it'll actually inspire more people to take up the sport than would have otherwise. I just imagine a lot of "What the...? I can do better than that!"
I happened to catch some curling footage on USA Network (I think it was) yesterday morning and after showing the USA Mens' elimination they actually had some interesting commentary about how maybe the USA Olympic Curling program is not setting the bar high enough for training and competitiveness when compared to other countries... and the question was raised: If they make it harder for American curlers to get to the Olympics, isn't that going to inhibit growth of the sport, which so many people seem to view as an everyman's ticket to the Olympics?

The response was that growth and competitiveness are not necessarily compatible goals. Which I guess makes sense... I have no idea how curling is structured nationally or how the Olympic teams have been selected these last two games; is it just whoever wins some national-level championship? In which case it may be that USA's national level competition is just not as strong as other countries. Which doesn't really matter in terms of getting people interested domestically, but does matter if you're trying to win international medals.
posted by usonian at 8:18 AM on February 18, 2014


If you live near Seattle, the Granite Curling Club has an open house coming up this Saturday (February 22).

I've been; it's a gas. And there's a bar on the premises, and those curlers drink like maniacs, if you like that. And everyone is really, really friendly and helpful and forgiving.

It's the only sport I'm watching at the Olympics. I couldn't believe my eyes when the Great Britain women dropped that SEVEN on the USA; I'd never seen that before, and it turns out no one has, not at that level.
posted by Fnarf at 11:30 AM on February 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


The fact of the US teams sucking so hard is what draws a lot of people in. Open houses are full of people who watch those performances and think "I could do better than that" which is almost true. I saw John Shuster get his ass handed to him at my local hometown curling club by a stoner I went to high school with. Except that curling club was in Canada and that stoner played since he was a kid and plays all the time. And that kid would, in turn, get his ass handed to him by the cruft that the the Canadian curlers shake off their brooms. There's just a colossal leap there because to get to be the best in a place like Canada where so many people are playing you have to play a lot and you have to be really really good. So the first thing you want to do if you want to go to the Olympics is move to Minnesota or Wisconsin and start playing 3-4x a week and spending every weekend traveling to bonspiels in Canada. That's where the average person showing up in a club can't make the leap.

There is a lot of discussion and controversy in the US Curling association about how they select teams for the Olympics because it's been so embarrassing. The way they did it this time was supposed to solve the problems they had the last time. And it obviously didn't. But I'm not sure what you can do in a country as large as this that has so little competitive activity in the sport and where you need to have a whole team committed fulltime to it if you aren't going to support them doing that.
posted by marylynn at 9:23 PM on February 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


Watching Canada:Sweden women's final now. Gripping stuff.
posted by arcticseal at 7:30 AM on February 20, 2014


So happy at that result, amazing game.
posted by arcticseal at 9:37 AM on February 20, 2014


« Older The Wisdom of Crowds   |   "We are all staying" Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments