I’ve come to realize I have a strange infatuation with obscure sports. In a country of over three hundred million, I’m one of perhaps only two or three hundred who practice a form of Japanese archery, Kyudo. In college, I lingered a long time at the fencing club table before deciding I should probably focus on studying instead.
That’s right, curling. I’ve watched a frightening amount of the sport since the 2014 Sochi Olympics began. I keep tweeting jokes about it, as if I’m only watching because it’s funny.
But this is denial. And it’s not true.
The truth is, I’m enamored with curling. I grew up in Buffalo, NY. In the old pre-cable days when we only got about five local channels, it was great to be so close to Canada because it increased the channels from five to about eight (I remember CBC was channel 5. I don’t remember the others, and I’m too lazy to look them up. Deal.). And I can remember, on certain dull, wintry Saturday afternoons, turning on one of those Canadian channels and watching curling for a while on a tiny thirteen-inch television.
The sport must have ingrained itself into my brain, because now, since the start of these Olympics, I am watching it daily. DAILY, I say. Men’s, woman’s, United States, other countries, doesn’t matter. If it’s curling and it’s on MSNBC in the late afternoon, chances are I’m tuned in.
It’s getting ridiculous. My wife keeps wandering into the room only to groan, “Curling? Again?” The other day I even looked up whether there was some place in Atlanta where one could learn the fine art of curling. I expected to come up empty, but not so, sports fans. Not so. It turns out the Atlanta Curling Club maintains a home in the Marietta, GA area.
They offer, twice per week, a Learn to Curl class. And, can I just say….”Winter Leagues Starting Soon.”
Winter leagues, people. Starting soon. This could be a problem.
I mean, in what other sport can you scream things like “CLEAN!” and “SWEEP!” at the top of your lungs without gender reprisal? (Trust me guys, do not burst into the kitchen and yell either of these if your wife is holding a dustpan and broom. It doesn’t end well.)
In what other sport can you wear pants that went out of fashion twenty-five years ago? (the Russian trousers were the worst, but Norway gets the award for changing them every match).
In what other sport can you hear manly, war-like terms such as “Shot Rock,” “The Hammer” and “Corner Guards?”
What other sport is like chess on ice, with the spirit of tic-tac-toe, bowling and bocce ball married together using the equipment from your high school’s janitorial closet?
The answer is none, folks. Very definitively none.
So look for me in South Korea in 2018.
I’ll be the one with the broom.