Fair-weather curling fans may be wondering what’s the point of continuing to watch Olympic curling now that: 1) the U.S. teams are out; 2) Norway’s pants are out; and/or 3) that really good-looking gal from Russia is out.
For true fans, however, it’s the actual sport of curling that keeps them interested, not national pride or Internet memes. And if fair-weather fans can muster up the courage to give curling a chance for its own sake, they’ll appreciate the sport, too.
Sure, to the untrained eye curling looks like a bunch of people playing shuffleboard on ice with the addition of brooms, but one can say something similar for nearly any sport they’re unfamiliar with, right? For instance, let’s examine football — a sport that has a surprising amount in common with curling, in fact. Those unaware of the intricacies of that great game might think it’s just a bunch of dudes wrestling on a field with the edition of a weirdly shaped ball.
The point is curling is interesting, just like those sports Americans already take seriously. You just have to understand it first. Do you have 90 seconds? Watch this.
Admittedly, that video and this short essay is an incredibly incomplete guide to the game, but even if you had time to go through the entire 40-something-page official curling rule book, you still won’t gain the knowledge and enjoyment of the sport that you get simply by tuning in. To keep with the pigskin analogy, think back to the first time you watched football. If you’re like me and didn’t grow up watching it, when you first decided to tune in, you probably didn’t realize, for example, the quarterback was reading the defense, trying to diagnose whether the box was stacked or whether his opponents were going to rely on an extra defensive back. You probably didn’t even know what “stack the box” or “defensive back” meant. (If you still don’t, give it time. You will!)
The same experience applies to curling. You probably won’t get it right away, but if you keep watching, you’ll eventually discover the difference between a corner-freeze and a hack-weight hit, and you know what else? You’ll find it fascinating. And by the time the semifinals are over and it’s on to the gold medal rounds, the question of what the Norwegian men may have worn won’t even have crossed your mind.