For some strange reason, back during the summer Olympics hosted in Atlanta in 1996, an extraordinary collecting frenzy broke out, and people everywhere were buying promotional lapel pins like they were going out of style – not that they were ever actually in style. I too fell victim to this craze and now have a drawer full of Olympic pins that I am crossing my fingers will one day be worth more money than I paid for them. An estimated 63 million pins were sold in Atlanta during its games – yes, 63 million – an insane number that even prompted the running joke that pin collecting should be included as a 29th event.
This year’s Olympic craze – besides those red mittens that Oprah featured on her show last week – is curling. It was first played in the Winter Olympic Games back in 1924, but for some reason the sport of curling has seemed to garner more public attention this year than any other. I, for one, just learned of its existence this year. And while Saturday Night Live did a skit describing curling as a sport for those who “like your winter sports slow and complicated,” it is somehow strangely compelling to watch, once you tune in.
Often described as shuffleboard on ice, Dummies.com gives a nice, brief explanation of the play of the game:
“In curling, teams slide a polished granite stone over a rectangular sheet of ice. The ice sheet has a pattern on it (called the house). The goal is to place your team’s stones closer to the target than your competitors. To assist the stone in reaching its mark, teammates sweep the ice with brooms to guide the stone. The friction from the sweeping creates thin water tracks that the stone can follow.”
The game is continuing to gain popularity and interest – though often with a satirical spin. Check out SNL’s recent spoof of the game below.
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