Winter Olympics: Curling Is a Long Game

charles kellettContributor IFebruary 17, 2010

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 16:  Melanie Robillard (C) of Germany releases the stone between teammates Stella Heiss and Monika Wagner of Germany during the women's curling round robin game between Germany and Russia on day 5 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Vancouver Olympic Centre on February 16, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

I haven't ever sat down and watched a complete curling match until these Winter Olympics.  It is a long game.  It is interesting to watch and akin to billiards, but it is on ice with no cue stick.

The thrower nearly always puts "English" (or spin) on the rock to guide it in the direction they intend for it to travel.  One of the German throwers appeared to curve the rock around another.  It was (the angry looking blond) Andrea Schoepp that also threw or "rolled" the winning stone.  US lost its second match with that throw.

The sport is interesting in that the process starts out so serene with the throw, and suddenly turns into a frantic affair with the sweepers going nuts with those brooms out in front of the stone.  And the crowd is really into it as the rock finds it's way to the target circle.  The rock is set on its course from the drop, and as it makes its way to a (usually) violent collision with another stone, the anticipation of the crowd erupts.

I think that the most amazing thing that the curlers do is to sweep and step over and around stones as they go into the target circle.  They never touch one.  Amazing.

I would like to try it after watching the past two days.  I live in the wrong part of the world for that.  Maybe I'll make a trip north for that ---  One of these days.