Oh yeah! Here’s the sole reason why I have any passing interest in these self-important Olympic games.
Forget all that Olympic pomp and circumstance. All those dramatic backstories of people training their whole lives, overcoming impossible odds to finally getting the opportunity to make the most out of a few precious seconds to do their best, make history, make their dreams come true and win the gold. All that booming music accompanying montages of athletes and snow-covered mountain ranges. Crowds waving flags and cheering for their country to beat every other country at everything they can. I don’t care about any of that.
Now curling. That’s where it’s at.
Every four years the Winter games arrive and while the vast majority of the worldwide audience seems to be caught up in the beauty of figure skating, the speed of alpine skiing and the excitement of hockey, I disregard all of that and focus on the the most mocked Olympic sport – curling.
I started watching curling acouple of Olympics ago and quickly became fascinated by the sport. It seems other countries have long embraced the game and take it very seriously. In the U.S. however, curling is viewed as a joke.
I don’t know how many people I’ve heard say to me, “why would this be an Olympic sport?”. The derision that curling gets by the Olympic broadcast is clearly evident as well.
I have never tuned into NBC on primetime during the Olympics and have seen a curling competition. No, the only time fans will be able to watch any games are at like 5am or 5pm on CNBC or NBC Sports Net (I never even heard of that channel).
The games can last a long time so I can understand why NBC would rather use its three-hour prime-time coverage to show the country other Olympic winter games. A lot of events last about a minute, so you could feature every country doing its thing that way, rather than stay with a game that could take over three-hours and the vast majority of the audience wouldn’t understand the rules and probably would be quick to reach for the remote control.
I think the commentators for the curling games that get broadcast can do a bit more to add some excitement to things. They’re very blah and they don’t seem to have much to say during the whole match.
If I was producing these games I would tell them to start drawing on the screen more. Try to predict the best placement of where rocks should be. Point out the potential pitfalls that might occur by moving one rock from here to there. They have to find people who have more to say about the game than “oh that’s a good shot”.
Also hire some sideline reporters to get some reactions from the crowds and the players families that are watching. What’s the popular snack being consumed in the stands? Are they selling any curling souvenirs in the arena? Delve more into the players preparations and their backgrounds and how they got here. Put together some packages and interviews, all that kind of stuff they do for the other games and athletes at the Olympics.
As it stands the broadcast of curling events are just simply watching the game. Curling fans who love watching the game and are thrilled at its exposure every four years want more buzz to surround it. You know people are clamoring and ready for something to talk about in the world of curling when the biggest story is team Norway wearing wacky pants for every match.
I still love it and soon my DVR starts to fill up with any curling game they’re willing to broadcast at whatever time or on whatever obscure channel they’re willing to give up its airtime for.
This year like most past winter Olympics, the U.S. seems out of their depth to compete in this game. Other countries already appear to be sweeping circles around them.
Fortunately, I look for other countries to root for and this year looks to be Russia. With the attractive Russian curling skip Anna Sidorova posing for some tasty photos recently I decided I’ll support her and her team! How can one not admire the passion she shows for the sport and her willingness to show curlers can be a sexy pack of athletes. Get her on a Wheaties box!
No matter how much I tried getting into the other winter games it just never happened for me. I just can’t get enthusiastic over having to be told the winner of an event by a slo-mo instant replay, that’s determined by fractions of a second and/or by a pack of anonymous judges filling out score cards. I much prefer a slower moving game that uses some well-thought out strategy, players being forced to make vital shots and a clear-cut scoring system.
Curling may never become the most-watched and revered sport at the Winter Olympics, but it’s the only one I’ll tune into watch.