Andy Holtzman/Daily News
Don’t fret, America. My curling days aren’t over. I’d just prefer to look at the rink as half-full, without innocent bystanders pointing and laughing. I’m still in the reinventing stage.
But with six months to go for the 2010 Winter Olympics, I’m behind schedule. More accurately, I’m sitting on my behind. On a block of ice. Trying to figure out why this isn’t as easy as it sorta looks.
Let’s see, just Google “Vancouver . . . 2010 . .. schedule.” Passport? Who needs a passport these days to . . . never mind. Here, the curling competition runs from Feb. 16-25, with the medal event two days later.
By my calendar, there’s probably enough time left to learn the sport that I’ve seen plenty of times in past Olympiads, qualify for the U.S. team, attend more training camp somewhere in Wisconsin, play in a few warm-up games against Poland, and clean up on the medal stand.
I dream big.
Which makes the pre-training session at the Iceoplex Easy Street rink in Simi Valley (liked here) the other night kinda look more like a nightmare. Or just a minor setback. It depends on how you interpret dreams.
The SoCal Curling Club (linked here) had its “learn to curl” session for anyone over 12 and with $20 to invest lured a couple dozen contestants who may have thought they were trying out for a Canadian reality show. The reality was, just because you owned a pair of warm gloves and thermal socks, there’s no guarantee this club would even take you on as a regular participant once league play opens this weekend.
The club started four years ago, right as curling became appointment TV viewing during the 2006 Turin Games in Italy, since Fred Roggin made it all look so campy. That’s about the time when Carrie Cresante, a Westlake Village attorney smart enough to make it through Pepperdine law school, thought she had the foresight to link into an Olympic-level sport and see where it could take her.
As a founding member of these SoCal Curlers, she’s been to Canada, where she picked up a pair of $200 specialized shoes with special sliders on the bottom, but better than what you’d find in the rental department at the local bowling alley. She’s also become quite fond of her carbon-fiber broom, because it’s much lighter to move down the ice than those old wooden-handled jobs.
“Most don’t have these shoes, but if I play, I use the right equipment,” the 31-year-old said. “I’m competitive. I wouldn’t be a good lawyer if I wasn’t.”
Plus, she said, the shoes were insulated. For that price, they’d better come with a warm-up act and two-drink minimum.
I really had no time, or patience, to learn all about the foreign terminology. The stone — that a 44-pound piece of granite with a handle attached — is supposed to be headin’ to the house. If you accidentally touched it with a broom as you were sweeping, it’s called “burning the stone,” but since you’re on the honor system, you have to call the friction infraction on yourself.
There’s the lead, second, vice skip and skip yelling at you. The hack line is 21 feet to the hogline. . . .
Blah, blah, blah. . . . All hogwash.