Why Curling Is the New Olympic Sport to Watch

Zach BergerCorrespondent IFebruary 23, 2010

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 22:  John Benton (R) and Jeff Isaacson (L) of the United States brush the ice backdropped by their skip John Shuster during the men's curling round robin game between Canada and the USA on day 11 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Vancouver Olympic Centre on February 22, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Skips, throwers, and sweepers.

Weight, turn, and line.

Guards, draws, and takeouts.

If you haven't figured it out by now (and I doubt you have), these are all curling terms. That's right...I am talking about the sport that is captivating the world during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

You might not admit it, but you watch curling. You've seen this shuffleboard-on-ice round robin tournament that has been going on over the last week. You love it, and so does everyone else.

But why?

Because, everything about this sport is interesting.

From the smooth delivery of the curling stone...to the rapid sweeping of the curling brooms.

From the infuriated shouting of the skip...to the weirdly excellent sportsmanship of the players.

From the excitement of a "takeout" throw (meant to target an opponent's stone)...to wishing you could glide across the ice like the sweepers.

Don't tell me you haven't imagined yourself sweeping that ice to slow down the stone. Don't tell me you haven't imagined yourself placing your foot on the hack and slowly drifting forward as you release the stone in a seemingly flawless motion.

Just like every other sport, curling has controversy. The United States benched John Shuster (a Torino bronze medal winner) this past week because of his poor play. Shuster missed a few key shots and essentially cost the U.S. a few games.

They've already taken themselves out of medal contention.

What's not to like about curling?

Did you know that the winning team is supposed to take the losing team out for a drink after the game? Whether or not this is actually done during the Olympics, I'm not sure. But, the sportsmanship in this sport tops anything I've ever seen.

If you "burn" a stone (or accidentally hit it with your broom or foot), you are expected to call a penalty on yourself. This isn't like the NFL where you try and hold a player and hope the refs don't catch you.

In curling, you are expected to be your own referee and an honest one at that.

Everybody loves something new.

Curling has been an official Olympic sport for four Olympic Games now (including Vancouver). It has gained popularity with each one and they are selling out seats in Canada this year.

Unless you are a Canadian (or from a small handful of other countries), you aren't used to curling and so it intrigues you. One would assume that watching quads in figure skating, double corks on the halfpipe , or hockey would be better alternative, but curling has taken the lead in Vancouver and it shows no signs of slowing down.