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Curling: It's Alluring?

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Alex Quigley

Former rock DJ, currently a multipurpose Chicago media guy.

If you own a television and have it plugged into the wall, then I'm guessing you've at least glimpsed a bit of curling over the last few days. (You might have stopped on that channel as you surfed past because the ice looks like an old-school test pattern. Don't worry, nothing's wrong with that channel's broadcast...other than it's showing curling.)

Across all of NBC Universal's cable channels, a whopping 121 hours of coverage will be dedicated to curling this Olympiad. One hundred twenty-one hours!!! That's more airtime than:

  • Alpine Skiing
  • Biathlon
  • Bobsled
  • Cross-Country
  • Figure Skating!
  • Freestyle Skiing
  • Luge
  • Nordic Combined
  • Short Track
  • Skeleton
  • Ski Jumping
  • Snowboarding
  • Speed Skating

Yes, I just listed every single sport in the XXI Winter Olympics except Ice Hockey, and Curling comes up only a couple hours short of first place.

So why now? Where did this massive groundswell of support for shuffleboard-on-ice come from?

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Curling only recently became a Winter Olympic sport in 1998, when apparently the International Olympic Committee got really drunk on sake while sitting in a hot tub in Nagano. For that matter, it seems like the United States team has been drinking before and perhaps even during their matches. (Last place for both the men's and women's squads? I don't care if it's an unknown quasi-sport! USA! USA!) 

Hell, Wikipedia's article on "sport in Canada" doesn't even list curling among the country's top five sports! So how did this end up being a medal-winning world-class sport? Fellow ChicagoNow writer Chasse Rehwinkel wrote about some other sports that should be up for Olympic inclusion...c'mon, even golfers look at curling at laugh. At least in high-limit poker, the individual players are risking thousands of dollars of their own money. Curlers are risking...cold fingertips? And I'm still not convinced that San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis isn't just doing all this ironically.

And there seems to be another interesting phenomenon happening on the interwebs concurrent with the explosion of curling coverage: women's curling fanboys. I'm not saying they're ugly or anything; they're certainly better looking than me. But when sports-blog-about-town Deadspin posted a one-paragraph blurb about a Danish curler appearing semi-topless for a magazine, the article became Deadspin's most-viewed article of the month with over 100,000 page views in a couple days. I'm crediting this to two things: 1) most guys will click any link that's labeled "semi-NSFW", even if they're at work, and 2) when you're forced to watch something over and over again, you start believing you really like it. Sort of like getting hit with the Stockholm Syndrome in your own living room. Or watching The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

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I guess "Copenhagen Syndrome" is more appropriate.

 

But since it's here and we're not going to stop watching TV because it's winter in Chicago, here's all you need to know about curling:

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Now you can follow along with all the "action"!

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23 Comments

J. Brown said:

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What? No love for Canadian Women's skip and maple milf Cheryl Bernard?

Sidenote - The 'C' in CNBC now stands for curling.

Alex Quigley said:

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I'd do a "top hotties of curling" article but there's already a few out there that are done well. Google "Olympic women's curling" and you'll get your fill.

Sinner.

Tory said:

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I personally have become addicted to curling through these Winter Games and I think I've watched about 50 hours of it thus far. Sure, it might be shuffleboard on ice, but at least it's a sport where I feel like I could learn it and maybe become good, as I have no shot at Olympic glory in any other sport at this point. I shall therefore be hitting up my local curling club soon.

Alex Quigley said:

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Y'see, it's the Stockholm Syndrome! You're becoming a fan because a) it's constantly on, and b) the other networks are mostly showing reruns because they were "afraid" of NBC's Olympic pull!

Here's betting that next Olympiad, the other networks will risk airing more first-run shows...after seeing how NBC's butchered their coverage, it might be worth it to take the gamble on winning a time slot.

Tory said:

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I disagree on your Stockholm Syndrome theory. It's easy enough to avoid the curling on TV, it's never on during NBC's main coverage and I'm used to watching the normal crap that's on TV during the day (I've even been missing things I normally love watching). I honestly just like it!

Chasse Rehwinkel said:

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You see the King of Norway is in Vancouver, rooting on his nation's curling team? And is supposedly being presented with a pair of the Norwegian curling team's official pants? ...this whole situation has maybe made me a fan of Olympic curling...

Goose said:

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USA is the best... at being the worst at Curling.

Chasse Rehwinkel said:

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Hey, it's better than ice dancing

Alex Quigley said:

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I agree, marginally.

Tory said:

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I like ice dancing too... :-\

Goose said:

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http://www.curlingchicago.org/

Quigley, Chasse, Cubbie Julie and I vs. the world. Let's do this.

Tory said:

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Can I be an alternate? I visit often enough. Philadelphia Curling Club will teach me well.

Alex Quigley said:

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Honestly and truly, that sounds fun.

I'm not "against curling" at all...I just think that a) it's not really a "sport", and b) Americans went from no curling on TV to CONSTANT COVERAGE OF CURLING.

J. Brown said:

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And you say that like it's a bad thing...

If this country can have an all-golf channel, then I fully support an all-curling channel. Make room for it by ditching Oxygen or some other such nonsense.

Chasse Rehwinkel said:

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I does sound like an adventure. I'm willing to try it. Need to get some of those Norwegian pants first though, HA!

Goose said:

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I'd be most excited for some good broomstacking afterwards.

Chasse Rehwinkel said:

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If I'm going to curl, I'm going to need some drinking first.

Goose said:

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And after.

Goose said:

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And probably during.

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