summing up the 2014 winter olympics, with help from my sister

This seems like an appropriate time to point out the good points and the not-so-good points of the Olympic Games.

Good point. They don't last as long as the professional football season, even though they cost more.

Another good point. We can boo Russian athletes without wondering if they are the new kickers or special team that cost our team money that they shouldn't have spent and will now be in a bad mood and the contract cost will not be justified. This is not something I think about, as you probably guessed, but Himself worries about the Giants constantly and now that he has almost concluded that their standard of play is hopeless, he's balancing the plusses and minuses of an effort to rebuild the team by buying expensive talent. We know how well that worked for the Knicks.

Maybe that wasn't such a good point.

Here's a good point. We can give the children and their friends a history lesson in the pointlessness of war without sounding like anything other than people who are really, really interested in sports trivia.
viz:  Each event - each sport - is the peaceful remnant of a skill that was once an art of war. For example, cave-dwellers threw rocks at each other. Now we have the shot-put.  Other cave-dwellers ran away from the cave-dwellers who threw rocks. Now we have footraces. In fact, thanks to early war, we also have jumping and rolling, refined to an art. We have gymnastics, thanks to those whose evasive tactics were more artful. And we have boxing and wrestling, from those who didn't evade fast enough.

As, um, civilization progressed, the javelin throw and fencing in all four divisions, foil, something, something else and épée, came to be. Early man wanted blood, but at a reasonable distance.

Some of women's evasive skills developed, but were not taken seriously. Women kept practicing.

As things that went boom and things that can hurt at a distance were developed, we got events that involved getting projectiles to a goal or line without having to get there oneself - tennis - and we got shooting. In fact, due to the needs of war when cold countries were invaded and attempted to resist, we got the winter biathlon. Wearing white to blend in, ski quietly up to a place where you can hide behind a fir or birch, shoot a few times, put rifle back, ski away before enemy figures out where you were standing.

Officers left battles on horseback while a victorious enemy pursued on foot.

Just about every event can, with a very small knowledge of military history and an open mind - what an odd combination! - anyway, just about every Olympic event can be tied to something that was once considered an essential warlike skill.

Discuss: do half-pipe events trace back to getting away from enemy via sewers and tunnels?

So now we come, as inevitably we must, to the sport of Curling.

What, we ask ourselves, is this doing here? In some ice-bound pre-Pelepponesian epic battle, did soldiers while away the time before battle by skidding stones at sitting stones?

I think not.

Why, then, is this a sport? Is the real action hoping that someone will fall through the ice? Or fall over drunk (can't imagine any sober person wanting to do this)?

The final proof that it takes the boring medals: a few days ago someone sent me a video - concept was that curling is boring and needs livening up so an enthusiast produced a video showing Curling Using Cats Instead of Stones. 

I watched it.

No difference. Once you said "Oh, yeah, look, cats," it was just as boring as regular curling. Cats look bored too.

So I sent the video to my sister, and here is her reply:

Do not let my dog know about this video. We watch curling for the uniforms.

Every girl should have a sister.


  1. CNBC has done coverage of curling every day, all the talking heads have had a go of it, and it never fails to give me the giggles. Just thinking about it makes me laugh. Try it. See? This may be the point, I can't possibly say. The furious brooming, hehehe.

    1. try to imagine the tryouts.

      try to imagine the varsity cheerleaders.

    2. "Sorry, Sven, that technique is just not gonna cut, I mean, curl it"

  2. Oh Canada loves its curling! Curley is Scottish - throwing stones on ice in winter! Gotta keep warm somehow and every little town in Canada can afford a small curling rink!

    1. I'm guessing the juice of the barley has a role. Or is it hurley I'm thinking of? No, that's the world's fastest-moving sport.

  3. hello!
    We should love to be able to say that we do not know that there is any sporting event going on at present but, sadly, that would be a lie. However, until Ludo or painting one's nails become recognised as Olympic Sports, we shall have nothing to do with it.

    Love being back in the Blogosphere. It is wit such as yours which keeps us going!! Missed you!!

    1. welcome, Jane and Lance. Actually in parts of New York (city not state), competitive nail-painting has many adherents.

  4. Curling makes me smile! Don't know why and when the curlers get really serious and concentrate well that makes me laugh. Don't know why but it just wows me that people "compete" in curling. I shall never complain about competitive women again...

    1. It does have kind of a wonderfully goofy quality, doesn't it?

      Still I wonder what it's doing in the Olympics. It's fun to watch boules or bocce when travelling, but they're not in the Olympics. And yet, dancing around waving different color ribbons, is.

    2. CSW, exactly! I cannot keep a straight face. Perhaps this is the desired effect to chase the winter blues away?

  5. So timely. Last night I sat my younger son down, and made him watch curling with me . As I live in an all male household, and ESPN is on from 5 am to 11:30 pm every day, I thought he could enlighten me. I am still so very perplexed. I can assure you it was out of the realm of his comprehension as well. In fact, I am embarrassed to admit, I thought the team was warming up, when in fact they were in the midst of a serious bout. But, oh- the uniforms(costumes?)...

    1. Well. I was wondering whether it would look so silly if I understood it. I think it would.

  6. Where did the two man luge develop from? ;o)

  7. Excellent breakdown of the winter olympics. We caught a couple of the hockey games and a couple of skiiers but other than that we didnt go out of our way to watch. But I can tell you what I would watch: curling with cats. That obviously needs to happen.

  8. Oh I've missed your posts! I can carry on a decent discussion with the ESPN staff on just about any sport but I don't get curling at all. Gosh, could it be my concussion, I'm not getting a lot of things ;) Need to check out curling with cats, I hope they used long-haired ones.


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