LANDERS COLUMN: Curling is not a sport | Opinion

The snooze-fest that was the Winter Olympics is over. I don’t watch the Olympics. I especially don’t watch them when they’re hosted by a country with more human rights abuses than a Quintin Tarantino movie. At a recent medical appointment, a curling game was on TV in the waiting room and I had to shake my head at what I saw. I have to say publicly that curling is not a sport. Never was and never will be.

I rescued my wife from her hometown of Portage when we got married in 1994. One day while we were dating, I asked her about the curling rink in her hometown. I had never heard of curling before. She explained to me what it was and I thought she was pulling my leg. I admit I lived a sheltered life before she introduced me to her sinful ways, but curling? Seriously, people did something like that?

Later in our marriage, I actually went to a curling competition. My wife had friends who were curling, and we were invited to watch them, ahem, “compete”. I could barely contain my excitement watching people slide across the ice on one knee while two other people used short snow scrapers to brush the ice to help the flattened bowling ball knock down other flattened bowling balls out of a circle. I haven’t seen this level of athleticism since the National Geographic documentary on illegal sloth racing.

People also read…

I was also taken back to the clothes or curling “uniforms” I saw there. A curling uniform consisted of khakis, white socks, black shoes, turtlenecks, and satin curling club jackets. I had a hard time telling if I was at a curling game or a Lenny and Squiggy convention. I kept waiting for Carmine to make an appearance.

At this point in my column, there’s probably a whole bunch of curling fans raising their short snow scrapers in protest and yelling at your newspapers. You might be ready to riot outside my house or try to overturn my truck in my driveway. I think my truck would be safe because it would take a bit of strength to flip it over and strength and curling don’t exactly go together. I also don’t want any of you good-hearted guys inviting me to try curling, or trying to prove to me that it’s a sport. I’m about as eager to try curling as I am to try a colonoscopy without sedation.

As you can see, curling is not for me. And to think that anyone had the idea to make it an Olympic sport is beyond me. At best, curling may be a way of socializing in the winter that’s different from bowling or darts, two other things I don’t consider sports. Someone who wants to prove me wrong shows me another competition that requires you to drink a few beers and eat a whole 14-inch pizza while you’re engaged in it?

Even if curling was a sport, it is poorly designed. First, flattened bowling balls have handles. Handles are practical and not athletic, which is why car doors and refrigerators have handles and baseballs and footballs don’t. Second, snow scrapers are too short, which means people using them have to bend over all the time to use them. Seeing people bend over all the time as they try to dash across an ice-covered surface made me realize that curling must have been invented by a chiropractor to get the business going.

It’s for things like that that curlers can’t be taken seriously. The hobby, I refuse to call it a sport, has too many flaws. If curlers want to be seen as athletes, they need to spice up the event a bit. Leave some contact between opposing teams to hit each other with their snow scrapers, remove the handle of flattened bowling balls and fill them with C-4 and a detonator, or put all “competitors” on bears saddled fleeces. It would be worth watching.

Until then, curling is not a sport. It doesn’t deserve to be in the Olympics or considered a sporting event. You might as well put bingo, lawn darts or dog walking in the Olympics if curling stays in it. All of this requires more athleticism than curling.

Again, I don’t need people like Lenny and Squiggy writing to me and telling me they’re going to challenge me to a curling match or try to justify curling to me. Have fun with your hobby, drink a few beers in my honor while you “compete”, but there’s no way you’re convincing me that what you’re doing is a sport. My decision is made, so hold your breath. Not that you get out of breath curling anyway.

Brian Landers, former mayor of Wisconsin Dells, writes a weekly column for Capital Newspapers. Contact him at [email protected]

Comments are closed.