Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tough questions: Why am I watching curling? And do I like it?

Before the Winter Olympics started, I knew next to nothing about this thing called curling. Last Thursday, when I saw it being watched on our downstairs television by my roommates, I scoffed, as I often do with sports played on ice, and vowed to ignore this new and different thing altogether. I guess I can be a little close-minded sometimes.

Now, after a weekend of watching what I assume is even a bit more than your average Canadian’s portion of curling, I can safely say this: I still know next to nothing about curling. But for reasons I don’t understand I could (and did) watch it for hours. This troubles me.

Curling seems to put me in a weird, semi-conscious state of television viewing. I know for sure I’m watching something, I’m not completely aware of what is going on, yet I want to watch more. It’s like watching a show at night after drinking Nyquil; I’m there, but there’s no way I’m going to remember any details about any of this.

That’s why this is so maddening to me. I don’t care about any of the matches I’ve been watching, and even if I did, I’m not totally sure how they score yet, so I couldn’t really cheer or anything. Still, if curling is on, I will sit there for hours and watch. Eventually, someone in the room will say something like, “Okay, that’s probably enough curling for about a decade, let’s change the channel.” My eyes will have to adjust to a color other than pure white ice, and I’m brought back into reality. After a while, I think all of the stones and brooms and targets just bleed into one another; you really can only watch so much of this stuff. But after every curling marathon, I’m left with is this odd fascination, wondering how in the world this held my attention.

Side-note: One of the reasons may be the fact that, since sometime around homecoming, our house has not been able to find the remote control for our living room TV. This means either what’s currently on the tube better be good or hopefully somebody is getting up for something, otherwise that channel is staying put. For the purposes of this column, I hope this isn’t the entire reason.

I mean, of all the events in the Winter Olympics: hockey, skiing, snowboarding, even the bobsled or something like that; the only one I have watched for more than three minutes is curling. There has to be a subliminal element that is drawing me in to this. Okay, it might not be that deep, but there’s strategy in curling, something to wrap your mind around, more than sweeping brooms in front of a rock. I think what it comes down to is that with any sport, the more you watch, the more nuances you pick up, and the more interested you become.

Most of all though, curling is temporary, it was only here on our NBC affiliates for two weeks, and it won’t be back in that capacity for another four years. Between now and then, well, I will probably go back to forgetting about it. No offense to curling, I just have other things to worry about, like finding a job, or something like that.

But after this brief visit, I would like to thank curling for being here, it was something new and different and mysteriously engaging; a welcome distraction from the ordinary, kind of what I think the Olympics are all about. Maybe for next time, I will even try to remember the few basic aspects of the game that I picked up. And I won’t change the channel, even if I do have a remote.

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