The Winter Olympics came and went, and it was full of ads.
I tried watching, but as far as I could see the coverage was a ratio of 1:1:2. For every minute of actual sports, you were subject to one minute of athletes’ sappy personal stories, and two minutes of commercials.
Then there were the skating competitions, with commentary from an effeminate young man in a pompadour wearing more sequins than the performers. I miss Dick Button, who is now 89 years old, and miss the Wide World of Sports “thrill of victory, agony of defeat” commentators in logo-emblazoned blazers.
No wonder Charles Lane wants to Stop the Olympics.
The only ones who caught my attention were The Curling Dads: skip John Shuster, lead John Landsteiner, second Matt Hamilton, third Tyler George, and alternate Joe Polo. Four guys from Minnesota and one from Wisconsin. The US Men’s Curling Team.
Having grown up in the tropics, curling looks to me like what a bunch of Scots sipping whisky on a frozen tundra would have come up with if they wanted to play shuffleboard. You have rocks, you have ice, you have brooms, and you want something active but not exhausting? Presto! You come up with curling.
Sure enough, curling was invented by Scots, according to this article, and “today’s curling stones are made of a special kind of granite from Scotland.”
Curling is soothing, mild, lacking in violence and free of drama. No one crashes down a snow-covered slope in the agony of defeat. The players don’t get into fist fights like they do in hockey. You won’t see little girls being flipped in the air like they do in pairs ice skating; heck, no one tries the triple salchow, if they know what a salchow is.
Enter the Curling Dads of the US Curling Team.
The dads did not wear flashy pants like the Norwegians.
The US team – and I mean this as a compliment – look like a group of regular guys out of central casting.
They worked hard.
They don’t scream at each other like a bunch of girls.
They quietly overcame hardship:
A four-time Olympian who won bronze in 2006 with Polo — the United States’ only other curling medal — Shuster left that team after Turin to form his own foursome and skipped them back to the Winter Games in Vancouver.
But he performed so badly he was benched, and then finished ninth of 10 teams in Sochi. After failing to make the national training program the next year, Shuster teamed up with two of the others who were cut (and George, who hadn’t even tried out) and called themselves “Team Reject.”
And they won.
Let’s hear it for The Curling Dads!
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s Blog.