So, as Sam was discussing with our poor, much maligned New England Meteorologist, I've discovered another rare and interesting character. What brings this on, you ask? Well, because I AM that rare and interesting character: An American Curler.
Now, the really sad thing is that around here, no one actually cares about this character or curling for 42 month at a stretch, then the Winter Olympics hit and the once again the US becomes fascinated. I admit, I began curling 8 years ago when after watching the Olympics I was chatting with a friend who curls and she suggested I give it a try. As it turns out, the very first team I ever played on had this nifty guy named Dan on it - he was also a newbie - and we both fell in love. With curling, and with each other.
So since this precious time, an interesting cycle has begun in my life. Every four years, I go from people looking at me and asking, "you do what exactly?", to a line of people (literally a LINE of people this morning) outside my office door, all eager to ask, "why would you blank an end?", and "what are ends?", and "does everyone sweep?" and "do you fall down a lot?". And I patiently answer with diagrams all over my whiteboard and office notes, with physical demonstations in the hallway and a department-wide search for a 42 lb object to simulate lifting a stone.
The sport of curling (and it is a sport and anyone who says it's not hasn't tried it) is fun because, like golf, you can learn all the physical basics you need in the space of a 30 minute open house at your local curling club. And like golf, you'll have days, even fairly early in your career as a curler, where you will feel like Tiger Woods (the exceptional golf player, not the philandering sex addict), and then the very next day, you'll play the worst game of your life and will spend the rest of the season chasing the moment of perfection. It's a game where anyone of any age, body type, gender and flexibility can find a way to do it well. Bad knees, spare tires, decades of desk surfing won't stop you from playing a decent game and enjoying the heck out of it.
Add to that the second half of the sport, that which you have to learn - the strategy. It's not a requirement, but I would contend that it takes some brains to do this well. And because of it, I'll bet you too will find that curlers are an interesting and thoughtful bunch.
Which brings us to, perhaps, the best part of all. When the game is over, you and your opponents engage in the age-old tradition of "broom stacking", where the winners buy the losers a drink and you settle down in the warm room to enjoy good company.
So I encourage you all to watch curling. To go out and congratulate the curlers you know, particularly if they live in the US, and to ask them all the questions you have. Heck, ask me all your questions and I will do my level best to answer them all. Even better - see if you have a local curling club and give it a whirl - you're going to like it a lot more than you think. Trust me.