You have to be from a northern country to truly appreciate the game of curling. Those in warmer climes knock the game by calling it shuffleboard on ice. On the surface, they have a point, but the game is much more than knocking granite around on a sheet of ice. Curling is popular where it is because of the personalities that rule the game and because of the strategy involved. I can’t think of one world-renowned shuffleboard player.
I have never thrown a curling rock. I have always wanted to – it looks like a lot of fun. What I know about the game is what I’ve seen on TV. My father liked to watch curling, so I guess that is where I got it from. For me, the connection to the game is more memory-related and it brings me back to the days when I was young and we used to watch curling on Saturday afternoons on CBC.
When I first started to get interested in the game back then, there was a young hot shot curler by the name of Colleen Jones who represented Nova Scotia. Back then, Nova Scotia was the furthest thing from a hotbed of curling as you could get. So when Colleen got to the final of the national championship, then won it a couple years later, it really cemented my interest in the game – mostly because no one from Nova Scotia had ever done what she had done. When she won it again 17 years later, it was her never-give-up, keep-working, never-say-die attitude that endeared me to her. It’s that kind of ethic that drives me.
Now, 31 years removed from her first national title, she’s back again at the national championship. It’s an incredible achievement – competing against curlers who weren’t even born when she won that title. During her dominance in the sport ten years ago, the advent of online forums and the ability for people to leave comments created a nasty underbelly to the fan aspect of the sport that continues to thrive today – no matter who is at the top of the game. Large personalities like Jones are always targets for so-called fans to level insults at them. I’ve never understood the psychology of that and why people do it. I’m sure someone has written about that. I’d sure like to read their report.
Other than that other winter sport that Canadians do fairly well at, curling is one of those unique sports that people usually don’t pay any attention to until this time of the year – a condensed, high stakes affair of national and world titles on the line within a couple months (and an Olympic title every 4 years). I don’t follow the game like I used to, but I’m sure I’ll peek at the finals when they’re on – especially if a team from Nova Scotia is in the mix.
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