Feb 142002
 
Authors:

What was I thinking, wasting my childhood playing meaningless sports such as baseball and football?

My parents want me to be successful, so why did they subject me to learn the game of basketball?

And now, why is it that I, and thousands of others, spend so much time enthralled in the lives of famous athletes, when we could have been one of them just as easily?

We just grew up in the wrong country, playing the wrong sports.

Football takes strength, so my future in that sport was done when puberty did nothing to help me out. Baseball takes patience, and I got sick of waiting a while ago. Basketball takes conditioning, and I guess riding my bike to class doesn’t cut it.

For me, curling is where it’s at.

I mean, is there anything not to like about “Shuffleboard on Ice?” Who wouldn’t want to shove a 42-pound stone down a path of ice while teammates sweep away anything in its path? I’m dropping everything I’ve done here and heading to Sweden, winners of two of the last five world curling titles and a heavy favorite in this year’s Olympics.

I realize some of you sheltered folks have no idea what curling is. I hope you don’t call yourself a sports fan. You haven’t witnessed sports until you try curling. Next time it snows, find the nearest parking lot.

In the big leagues, you and three teammates gather with another team at a sheet of ice 146 feet long, and each person gets a chance to slide their stone to the other “end” (the actual term for the target). Along the way, two of your teammates sweep away pebbles and such that may get in the way and cause the stone to curl.

The object is to have your stone stop as close as possible to the center of the target, the “tee.” The other team sends its stones to the same end, alternating with your team’s turns. Any stone can knock another stone out of the way, or closer to the center. Techniques such as the “Hit and Roll” are used to knock an opposing stone away from the tee. Points are awarded to stones closest to the center than the nearest rival stone. The team with the most points after 10 “ends” (essentially, the same thing as innings) wins the match.

Now being as lazy as we Americans are, it’s a wonder as to why we haven’t picked up on this game yet. That’s why I’m taking my mom (the originator of my sweeping days), my grandma (winner of her home’s shuffleboard tournament last week) and a janitor (too many sweepers never hurt), and going to Sweden to begin training for the 2006 Winter Olympics. Can you imagine an easier way to get on national, even international, TV?

Curling is in only its second Olympics, as it was finally introduced as an Olympic sport at the last winter games in Nagano, Japan. What took them so long?

Anyway, I haven’t yet experienced my 15 minutes of fame, so I’ll go get it. This country has no room for me, with all the hardworking, fitness-crazed hooligans calling themselves athletes. So I’m going to take on a real sport that you Americans will soon find as remarkable as you do football.

Do they pay well for curling in Sweden?

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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