Thursday, February 18, 2010

In Defense of Curling

OK, I've had it up to here (my hand is over my head) with all the curling bashing. Seems some arrogant, closed minded Americans (Bryant Gumble, for one) don't think it's a true sport (it's a game, they argue) and that curlers aren't athletes. Using the same criteria, I argue that the following are not sports and the participants not athletes:

NASCAR (or any form of auto racing):
I drive every damn day and I don't think it's the slightest bit sporting. I'm sure that driving cars at that speed is not easy and that it takes a bit of talent and strategy to win. Probably not much more than what I need to get through Atlanta traffic every day, though. And no one can make fun of curlers' supposed lack of athleticism without taking a look at doughy Tony Stewart. That chubby can barely get in and out of a car.

I love golf. I love to watch it and play it; I'd play every day if I could. Still, hitting a little ball with a titanium rod takes no athleticism at all, just a little skill. OK, a lot of skill, but it takes a lot of skill to be a curler, too. Golfers aren't all that athletic, either. Sure they have to do a lot of walking, but they don't even have to carry their own clubs. Us poor golfers do, but not the pros. Before Tiger came along it was all a bunch of pot-bellied white men playing the game, and even with Tiger in the game you can't call golfers real athletes. Seen Phil's belly lately? How about cigarette smoking, alcoholic, wife-beating John Daly? Sure, he's slimmed down, but he's no athlete.

Fun game, but all one really needs to be a good bowler is skill, nice shoes, a good ball, and a strong stomach.

Bass Fishing:

Why is this even on TV? An intelligent person wouldn't even begin to think of poker as a sport, yet, sadly, many Americans do just that.

Skateboarding on snow. Nothing more needs to be said.

Other notable non-sports based on the "curling is not a sport" argument: ping pong, badminton, ski jumping, luge, fly fishing, billiards, diving, shooting, hunting, rodeo, darts, jarts, horseshoes, polo, equestrian, and all the supposed X-games. I reserve the right to add more as they come to mind.

I don't know much about curling. In fact, I only watch it when the Winter Olympics rolls around, so it's safe to say I don't follow the sport. But I do appreciate it for the sport that it is and the talent and skill it takes to play it. I guess that's what separates me from the likes of Bryant Gumble, David Letterman, Frank Deford, Jimmy Kimble, and many others: an ability and willingness to appreciate the finer things. And curling is fine.