Curling – More Than Shuffleboard On Ice

Before I left home, and now that I’m at work, I have been watching the one Olympic sport I really enjoy – Curling!

I’m not some curling “Gord come lately!” Helaine and I used to watch curling on Canadian TV when we lived in Buffalo.

The Canadians used to re-brand and then run ABC’s Wide World of Sports. When swimming or other warm weather sports ran, the Canadians would cover them with curling, clips from the Calgary Stampede or other suitable north-of-the-border fare.

It is such a simple game to understand. At first glance it looks like shuffleboard on ice… except this isn’t smooth ice… and then you add in the guys with brooms. It’s crazy.

There’s lots of strategy and tension, no doubt. But, why lie? I like curling because I think I could probably play it. There are few… no, there are no other Olympic sports I ‘d even attempt.

Imagine me on the luge! Imagine me in one of those form fitting outfits the downhill racers wear! imagine me on skis with a rifle! You get the idea.

As I’m writing this, Fred Rogan (who normally anchors sports at KNBC in Los Angeles – a curling hotbed – not) is reading viewer emails. A genuine Canadian is answering them.

I am transfixed!

I just called Helaine. Maybe we could join a co-ed curling league?

Don Chevrier, a Canadian sportscaster who is working with Rogan, has just commented on the curling heat, building in the United States. He was surprised in Salt Lake City, and it’s continuing in Torino.

No matter how much I kid around, I seriously enjoy watching curling. I can’t say that about any other Olympic sport.

Holy cow! What’s wrong with me?

The Olympics

I have found myself watching very little of the Olympics. I know it’s the greatest achievement in sports – but they’re mostly rather esoteric contests with people I don’t know.

The men in the Olympics look just like the guys I didn’t get along with while growing up: tall, muscular, good looking. As a rule, my friends could not throw a ball.

In the few events I’ve seen, the stands were empty. That’s sad. Considering what Greece has paid, and will continue to pay, empty seats give a bad impression. There’s also the implication their peripheral businesses are not doing well on anticipated Olympic revenue. Restaurants and hotels which put up with the massive construction until now face no payoff.

I read this evening that the International Olympic Committee is encouraging the Greek Olympic Committee to paper the house. That’s sad.

ATHENS (AFP) – IOC (news – web sites) officials, worried by the television images being flashed around the world of athletes competing in near empty stadiums, have told the Athens Games organisers to give tickets away for free if necessary.

For years I’ve heard a story about ABC’s Wide World of Sports in the 60s and 70s. When they would cover swimming, track and field, or other events that weren’t well attended, they’d make everyone sit together opposite the cameras. In this age of handheld shots, that wouldn’t work.

I’ve seen Olympic coverage on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC. I think there’s some on Bravo too, though I’m not totally sure.

I wonder how the ratings will be? Will the lack of fans in the stands along with the poor showing of the USA basketball team and dashed hopes for a record number of records in swimming turn people off? What about the ability to watch events on multiple channels? Will the affiliates get hurt?