The Kenwood Press
Publishers' Corner: 02/15/2018

Maybe next Olympics…



We’ve all done it – watch the Olympics, and envision yourself participating, perhaps even medaling, in your favorite event. What’s yours?

Ann is enamored with biathlon, the quirky competition that involves a cross country ski race combined with periodic stops to pull a rifle off your back and shoot at five circular targets, either standing up or in the prone position.

What’s the attraction? Hanging out with Norwegians eating klippfisk (dried salted cod)?

Ann says she likes biathlon because it’s something she could actually do and get good at if she had the proverbial 10,000 hours (and was a few years younger, just saying). She likes to ski, and she likes target shooting. There’s the adrenaline from the cross-country sprint, and then you have to calm yourself down enough to shoot accurately. I don’t know why, but this makes me nervous.

As for me, I’m all over curling. The fun thing about wall-to-wall television coverage of the games is that you can actually watch a whole curling match from beginning to end. And this year there’s a curling competition every single day of the Olympics. As the matches have gone on I’ve learned more, and begun to appreciate the nuances of sliding 40 pound granite stones with handles (“rocks”) on a sheet of ice toward a target. And, like Ann, I can see myself actually playing this game, unlike ski jumping or snowboard cross.

Curling had its humble beginnings in 16th century Scotland, one of the first known team sports, played on frozen ponds or lochs.

In curling, you have special shoes and get to use a broom. The sport has its own vocabulary, too – “button,” “biter,” “hammer,” “pebble,” “bonspiel,” and “hogged stone.”

So I can say, “After the pebble was the bonspiel, and I slid my rock, which happened to be the hammer, hoping to hit the button, or at least a biter, but instead ended up with a hogged stone. Voi ei!” (That’s “Oh dear!” in Finnish.)

This jargon is much better than snowboarding lingo – “front side double cork,” “steezy,” “chicken salad,” “taco.” Please. Though I am a little hungry now.

Curling competitions are in teams, and this year for the first time ever in the Olympics, mixed doubles. I’ve watched husband and wife teams, engaged teams, brother and sister teams, and some that are just athletes paired together.

Not sure a husband and wife curling team is a good idea. Seems like there’d be a lot of opportunity for conflict – the sweeping, the hogging. And there’s a fair amount of yelling to (or is it “at”) your partner as the stone travels toward its target.

Just so you know, Canada won the gold medal in mixed doubles, followed by Switzerland and Russia. The U.S. is going to have to wait four more years. Voi ei!

– Alec