If you have any sort of explanation for that horrendous pass, please share it with me.
Anyway, to the post.
At this moment, the United States lead Finland 6-0 in the semi-finals of men's hockey at the Olympics. Before the Olympics, I never thought I'd even care. But now that they're coming to a close, I have a renewed sense of national pride and a greater appreciation of my exposure to sports about which I know very little.
Everything from Skeleton to Snowboarding shows up at the Winter Olympics. But the one sport which has caught my attention is curling. The combination of strategy and skill is extremely impressive and exciting. When the U.S. won in overtime against Switzerland (or Sweden, I can't remember), I found myself shouting strategic tips and giving Tigeresque fist pumps for every great shot (if that's even the term). For those of you who do not know curling, here are the rules.
More importantly, however, was the initial question that popped into my head after my first five minutes of curling exposure: How does one get into curling? As far as I know, American parents put either a baseball glove, soccer ball, basketball, football or tennis racket in the hands of their children. Does this mean that some parents give a rounded, smooth stone to their children? I'd assume not. I've only been able to come up with three rational explanations for how children become curlers.
1) Overcompetitive/former athlete parents have a child who is terrible at every real sport.
The parents gave their child every opportunity to succeed. Private instruction and constant practice became a staple of the child's after-school routine. But when it came time for middle school tryouts, he was cut. But he wasn't just cut in football. He was cut in every sport. He couldn't even make the cross country team, which doesn't even cut people. So the parents were left with one option. The one sport that requires minimal athletic ability, hand-eye coordination and intelligence, but simply lots of practice: curling.
2) The parents were curlers themselves.
All parents somewhat desire their children to follow in their footsteps. So for all those curler parents, nothing would be more logical than giving their child a stone and a pair of skates for Christmas. Would this ensure their child becomes a social outcast? Of course. How many of the most popular kids in high school were curlers? None? That sounds about right. But when their child wins a gold medal, it will all be worth it.
3) The child has an uncanny ability to sweep/clean.
If I were to curl, I would immediately attempt to become the guy who pushes the stone (whatever he's called). He seems to be the one requiring the most skill and receiving all the glory. So who becomes a sweeper? Logically it's those who are great at cleaning. Except instead of becoming maids, their parents take advantage and guide them towards curling.
I know this last one is a pretty weak explanation, but frankly I can't come up with anything better, so hopefully someone else has a better idea. But regardless of how these curlers get into their sport, I love their game, and I ask you to give curling a chance.