Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Observations from the Sidelines

I have been catching glimpses of the Winter Olympic Games here and there, usually from the comfort of a bar stool at my favorite watering hole. The winter olympic sports are pretty engaging as pretty much everything involves grace and speed, two things I can appreciate even after three shots of Jameson on a Tuesday night, plus there is the added advantage of needing to know next to nothing about each event: They go down a hill or do pirhouettes on ice. If they are the fastest or most graceful, they win. If they fall, they don't. Perfect for those of us with minimal interest in sporting events.

Most of these sports are pretty straight forward: Skiing, skating, bobsledding. But I happened to watch a bit of the Curling event the other night and I was thoroughly confounded. This event seems to have been invented for unathletic people who like to sweep. A fairly specialized niche to my untrained eye. The event involves one person sliding what appear to be tea kettles down the ice and then some other people take little brooms and sweeping the ice. People who do this clearly do it for the love of the sport, as I I don't see any cereal endorsements coming down the pipeline for the Olympic curling champions.

The other head-scratching event is the biathlon where contestants ski down a hill and then stop and shoot at things. This seems like a fairly arbitrary pairing. Why not have contestants bowl a game and then knit a sweater? Or run a marathon and then sit down and figure out some physics problems? Please submit any ideas you may have for like-minded events and we'll get it going for Olympics 2010.

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