First day of competition and here are some impressions:
* This is the loudest, most raucous crowd I’ve ever seen and heard at a curling competition. They scream, yell, bang the seats, wave flags and sometimes even at the right time. Yes, they aren’t the most knowledgeable folks. Sometimes they yell and scream when players are delivering rocks. Other times they yell and scream when players miss shots, but get a lot of stones moving. Still, it’s a fun atmosphere and the players seem to love it.
* I thought Kevin Matin was going to run Thomas Ulsrud out of the rink in his first game but the Norwegians battled back, especially with that three in the fifth. I don’t think they missed a shot after that and actually were set up for three in the 10th. Canada could have very easily lost that game. Instead, Martin made the clutch draw (which selfishly made writing my story with the 2002 last-rock miss very easy) with his last.
* I thought Bernard’s first game was good but there were quite a few key misses, I thought. And two really bad sweeping errors by the Canadians, one in the seventh and one in the ninth. On the first one, the TV microphones even picked up Cheryl asking Susan about it afterwards.
* Mirjam Ott’s delivery seemed to leave her a few times during the game. She was fishtailing so bad on a couple, she looked as if she was playing in the Friday Night Mixed at my club after a couple of cocktails.
* A thought: I think there are more Chinese media here covering the two Chinese teams than there are Chinese curlers.
* The weirdest tee shirt I saw today was worn by a 20ish guy who looked sort of normal. His shirt said: “Kevin Martin Makes Me Haaard.” That’s so wrong on so many levels.
* The Russian women’s team didn’t look very good. They made a few really strange calls and someone should tell them that four people sweeping a stone doesn’t really do anything more than two people sweeping.
* The novelty of the Norwegian men’s pants has worn off. Now they're just silly.
* Just in case you missed it last night, John Morris was named as one of Canada’s top 10 bachelors by Entertainment Tonight Canada.
* Craziest thing I’ve seen here so far. Well before the second draw, they start piping the teams in and I figured it was a rehersal of some sort. Nope. It’s the opening ceremonies for curling. But there’s about eight people in the stands. Seriously. Apparently they forgot to tell anyone. It became the silliest thing I’ve seen in curling. Every Olympic curling team out on the ice. John Furlong, the CEO of VANOC, there to give a speech and no fans. By the time they finished, a few had dribbled in for the evening round. But as they exited, David Murdoch looked up at me on the bench and just shook his head. I shook mine right back.