A compilation of random and interesting things, musings, musics, videos, and more. Brought to you by a UChicago student with a penchant for procrastination.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Curling is Cool

When you think of winter sports, most often the equipment that comes to mind has something to do with the season: ice skates, snow boards, and all manner of winter gear is usually required to bring the activity to fruition. But I present for your sampling a very different kind of sport, a way of life really, that is so unique and specialized that most people have no idea what it is.

Uh, what?

CURLING, the game --

With brooms, stones, concentric rings, skips, leads, and thirds the very image cast off by the obscure sport of curling is tantamount to that of a hip underground culture. The select few privileged enough to enter the world of this elusive sport are exposed to a set of rules and terminology that few can even begin to unravel. But for those of us forever fascinated with this secret society of ice athletes, Wikipedia provides the first step towards understanding.

Played on a long curling sheet of ice, the curling arena is prepared by spraying water droplets over it's surface and marking the concentric circles which constitute the "house" at it's far end. It is on this treacherous terrain that two teams of four, equipped with teflon coated shoes and curling brooms, face off in the ultimate game. The goal of curling is essentially to throw (slide) a rock (curling stone topped with an eye on the hog (special handle)) such that after ten ends (sixteen alternating rock throws) the team with the greatest number of rocks in proximity to the center of the house wins!

... But with all of the terminology inherent to the game, even I had trouble following this. You might have more luck understanding what is going on by playing some virtual curling for yourself and just reading through the simplified directions, or checking out my awesome high school computer art video game concept - CURL OUT ... or you could always follow my handy curling language guide, just fleetingly ripped from Wikipedia

Curling, the terminology --

Hack - a device embedded in the ice, used to provide traction to the curler making a shot

Skip - the captain of the team who is charged with determining strategy, a post held by such curling greats as Markku Uusipaavalniemi, U-15 himself!

Hogline - the line at which the stone must be released by the player for it to be considered in play, otherwise the rock is removed from play (hogged!)

Hurry (hard) (!) - to sweep the ice with such vigor as to affect the trajectory of the stone and make it's path both straighter and generally farther

Swingy Ice - ice on which stones curl more than usual

Ok, I hope that's enough to get you a bit more exposed to the strange language and practice of Curling. Sure, you may ask yourself: how many of these terms did I just make up because you wouldn't be able to tell the difference? Well ... that would mean putting to question my credibility as a blogger! And I would indeed be hurt enough by that doubt to retaliate by turn a wobbler on you at a Roaring Game fun speil! ... orangutan

Alright, so here's the good part

Curling, the weirdness --

So, that wasn't weird enough for you?
Well then, this video is what you have been missing in life!

Seriously, there's something to be had for Swedish metal in unison with Olympic Women's Curling! Especially as it would have never occurred to me that Acuvue-branded ice queens would transition so well into the dimly lit and fog shrouded world of metal.

Even if you discovered about three sentences into this post that you didn't care for Curling, surely this touches some deeply ingrained desire within you for such purely amazing ice mayhem - so listen to your swingy heart, set that curling rock star loose!

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