Curling: That Weird Winter Sport Has Invaded Everett!
Seriously, I've lost hours of my life watching this and now it's in person!
I wish I could understand what it is that makes curling so hypnotizing. It’s slow, quiet, and cold yet I’m trapped in its gaze like a starship trying to escape the Empire - in this case, caught in a very Canadian tractor beam.
A seemingly simple game of ice shuffleboard using stones the size of a squatty Roomba, only ten times heavier, slowly gliding across the icy floor wins my captivation once every four years during the winter Olympics.
Now it’s here in Washington all week at the Xfinity Arena. The USA Curling Nationals landed me in my Honda shooting up I-5 through Tuesday traffic to Everett. Seriously, I was so excited to cover it that my boss just dubbed me the official End Curling Correspondent. I skipped a chili cookoff at work for this!
Other than ice, stones, and those scrubber brush things, I had literally no idea what to expect. What I found was an eery quiet shattered only by the piercing calls of Skip (captains) yelling instruction to their sweepers. Occasionally, the yelling would be punctuated by the ringing of a cowbell in support of a great play.
This is not a high energy sport, but I could watch the competitors slide around for hours.
In contrast, the faces of the sweepers redden so quickly because it is hard work - side note: to whoever decided to make a game where your household chores are turned into a sport, you’re a monster, but the finesse required with that output of effort and yelling is stunning.
There was one additional unexpected feature of the event that my wife told me I had to include: butts. What I didn’t anticipate is that the curlers spend a lot of time in squat and lunge positions and the booties on these competitors were pretty cool. This is more than just a weird "it's so cold let's do something while we drinking" contest, it's also a great way to get a workout!
This Olympic sport I’ve only before seen on television once every four years (or all winter when in Canada) can be seen in our own backyards this week. It’s hosted by Seattle’s own Granite Curling Club. Charlie and the gang did a great job making this thing look great including a half sheet of ice for fans to get a sample of the action for themselves. There are tons of games for kids, concession, and importantly to any slow-moving sport, beer. Plus, while you're here, check out some local curlers that are vying for a spot on the national team in 2018 like Brady Clark or Cristin Clark of Lynnwood!