I love the Olympics. Winter or Summer, I find the Olympic Games and their athletes incredibly compelling. The clear majority of these individuals are there solely to compete – they’re not going to come away with a medal, no one is seeking their autographs, they have no agents, and they are not raking millions in with endorsements. They are getting up at outrageously early hours for training (when I am drooling on my pillow, happy in my ignorance of their sacrifice), working at low-paying jobs that offer flexible schedules (unless they have managed to find an athlete-friendly employer like Home Depot), spending hours in gyms and, in the case of the Winter Olympics, cold environments to practice their particular sport.
I have one favorite sport that seems to be the butt of many jokes. Curling. Yes, there, I said it. I like curling. I had never seen curling until 2002, when I had surgery several days before the start of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Now being from Salt Lake City, I was excited to watch these particular Games, and I soon found that watching the Olympics on pain medication lends an interesting perspective to the experience. Yes, I first watched curling bombed out of my head (insert your own favorite druggie joke here… I’ll wait). And I loved it. There is a certain strategy to flinging a 40 pound piece of granite down a sheet of ice from a extremely low position to see who can get closest to a mark under the ice. Shuffleboard on ice, Icy Bocce ball, Chess on ice, Ice Bowling, I’ve heard all of these names when it comes to try to describe curling. And I think it’s compelling because it has aspects of all these games.
Give it a try – watch 30 minutes of curling after you’ve read the wiki on curling. Apart from the crazy pants that the athletes have as uniforms, you’ll soon see that it’s an athletic pursuit (I can’t just stand well on ice, much less throw anything down the ice and remain standing), the flexibility to bend down into the position to throw the rock and the rapid motion involved in the brooming (it melts the ice just enough to float the rock further down the ice – how cool is that?) makes my arms hurt just watching. It’s fun to watch, it’s strategic, and it moves quickly. So watch, on or off pain meds, it’s an intriguing event.
I have always felt myself extremely lucky that my wife is as big of a sports fan as I am. We have baseball season tickets, the MLB and NFL packages on Direct TV, and watch most of the Golf and Tennis tournaments that are on TV. We enjoy all these sports together and I love that! I also agree that the Olympics are full of athletes who are dedicated to being the best at their sport no matter what the financial gain. But curling. I’ve had more fun watching paint dry. The coverage starts at 1:00 pm today and I am leaving at 1:00 to play tennis and should get back about 30 minutes after the coverage ends. Ever heard anybody say, ‘Hey, want to go curling today?’