Curling on the Sofa

The Winter Olympics are always set in such lovely places that I watch them just for the setting.   I don’t wish to be there among the bazillion people crowded into the area, although believe me, I’d rather be dropped there than in the Summer Olympic games with the bazillion sweaty armpits.   I’m fine here on the sofa.

Dearly Beloved keeps the newspapers opened to the television schedule for events and practices thumb calisthenics to “remote” us through the various venues with ease.   Our system has been that he can decide because I don’t care what we watch.  Until this year.

I got hooked on curling.

When oldest grandson was a baby and Boo had taken the mommy pledge of not using the TV as a babysitter, she had him on her bed one morning and was trying to comfort him as he screamed his displeasure at the ills of society.  She turned on the TV, looking for something to help her sanity, and happened to scroll by  the Teletubbies.  The kid stopped in mid scream and never blinked for the next 20 minutes.  Completely mesmerized.

Curling affected me that way.  Not the competition or even the game itself… it was the graceful gliding.

Remember that I lived in Wisconsin, where curling is big.  I never saw it, never wanted to, and for that matter, I made fun of it.  A sport played with a rock and brooms on ice in a barn?  Puh-lease!

Friday I looked up to see what DB was watching and saw a player gliding on an ice court.   He wasn’t wearing skates.  In fact, his shoes looked like bowling shoes.

Another player sank to one knee and in a graceful pendulum motion,  released a painted smudge pot and sent it skimming atop the ice to the circles painted at the other end of the court.   Floating. . . gliding. . . curling gently. . . ahhhhhhh.  I muted the sound and simply watched. Lovely.

A couple of guys holding brooms frantically started sweeping.  Mood killer!  Let’s just let it glide.

Never mind the rules of the game; tell me about the magic shoes and the pretty rock!  What kind of soles allow that movement?  DB watched with a look of amused disbelief as I began to read about the game.  (A look doesn’t amuse ME, incidentally.)

My friend Wickie Pedia had the answers:

The shoes have Teflon on the bottom.  Cool!  There is a cover to snap on when they’re not gliding on the sheet, which is what the court is called.  Mystery #1 solved.  The rock that looked like a smudge pot?   Granite…  but not just any granite.  The best stones are made from a special granite found on a small island in Scotland and cost up to $1,500 each.  There are TEN of those highly polished stones per team.

I sat through match after match, waiting for the gliding parts.   DB, who is not a curling connoisseur,  commented that it looked like a sport my friends and I might enjoy playing.

WHAT?  Are you nuts?

This is a game where somebody  throws a rock toward a “house,” which is what they call that circle.  Some of the lines are called “hog lines”  and the team members carry brooms. Does that sound like some place I’d like to be? I can do that right here.

Cleaning standards are high.  Last night one man pointed out a hair on the ice and his teammates rushed to remove it.   THAT sounds even more fun, standing around the on the ol’ ice hog line, looking for hairs.  On our floors,  if it’s smaller than a chunk, I’m not going to notice it.  Even then, I’ll wait for awhile in case the dog will eat it.

Still, there are other parts of the game that have possibilities.    That very expensive granite?

Cut mine into countertops, please.

15 thoughts on “Curling on the Sofa

  1. Curling is the ONE winter sport that I seriously think I could do. Especially with all the broom experience I have. I watch in fascination. I even told My Hero to find out where we could do it here! Now that I know the stones are so pricey, I think I will stick to my knitting.

  2. I am so happy I signied up to get these instant e-mails when you post something…..I feel like I’m getting in on the ground floor of a new comedy routine…….The Boss refuses to watch the Olympics for any sport let alone curling….he commented the other day as we were changing the channels and got a glimpse of it and the comment was not a positive one…..and you let your dog eat strange chunks off the floor?… it’s you that encourages this poor animal to eat frozen “things” from outside…..have a great Sunday!

  3. I watched this last night. I don’t know how I’ve lived 51 years without ever seeing curling before?! I never knew such a thing existed.

  4. I was oddly fascinated watching the curling matches this weekend, also, Mary Lee. It reminded me a little of Italian bocce ball, only more graceful. I still can’t figure out what the broom action does but it’s fun to watch!

    PS..I saw the giant rabbit e-mail tonight…you crack me up! 🙂 Oh, and I see you and Sue finally found each other! I knew you’d both enjoy each other’s blog.

  5. My husband has taken to watching curling. I’m pretty much with DB. Once you get past the slick shoes and shiny rock (about 90 seconds) there just isn’t much there to hold my attention. I must admit that I was totally surprised at how LOUD the curling teams are so I’m sure I’m missing something exciting.

    1. One of the good things about it is that it’s bad form to celebrate if the other team does something poorly. (Same is supposed to go for the spectators.) Doesn’t make you tense–if THEY don’t get upset, then why should you? It’s not an on-the-edge-of-your-seat sport, but a nap-on-the-sofa one.

  6. My in-laws just left and they would watch the Olympics 24/7 if it were possible. But since it’s on 20/7 – that was enough for me. And they loved the curling. So much so, that they got my boys (ages 5 & 6) hooked! It was too funny – and so is your post!

  7. Please accept my sincere thanks for your thoughtful description of curling. Because it is more or less slow, even in a way meditative, rarely results in collisions (excepting the rocks), skate slashings or scenes involving stretchers or defibrillators, the sport has remained anonymous to all but a few. Your post helps to correct that.
    My father was Canadian by birth, and a curler. This was back in the day when the brooms were just that, straw brooms. The friction was generated not by smudging back and forth with a child’s version of a push broom, but by manly slapping at the ice. The rhythmic sound of this is now lost to all who come after, but I remember hearing it, even through the plate observation windows on the second floor of the Detroit Curling Club. Here was where men past their curling prime sipped drinks and watched. No special Teflon-treated shoes, either, just standard wingtips or cap-toed oxfords. I remember the surface of the ice somehow being given a quilted surface, like quited aluminum foil, this to reduce the actual ice surface over which the rocks slid. And the rocks themselves, I think, were forty-two pounds. They were shaped like a donut, again reducing the surface area to about half an inch.
    In the end, curling is physics, plain and simple.
    As you see, your post tapped right into memory. Thanks again.

  8. Ya know….we (meaning me & my retired husband) starting watching the curling. And, like moss, it grew on us.
    It is quite strategic.
    And then the Norwegians’ red & grey argyle pants. I mean, how can you not be smitten with a sport that encourages men to look utterly absurd.

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