Thoughts as we hit the home stretch:
* I’m sitting on the bench beside the delightful Terry Kolesar, communications director for the United States Curling Association. Every day, she gets to wade through the e-mails sent to the group’s general delivery web site. She always tells me the general themes and most are really positive such as people who just want to find out where they can try the sport.
But it never ceases to amaze me how many people think they can take up the sport and make it to the Olympics in oh, say, four years. Sure, I’ll just pick up the game and get myself to world-class in two years, then win the U.S. Trials and presto . . . I’m an Olympian.
Not that I want to be the one to crush their dreams, but folks. . . it ain’t happening. While John Shuster and his team are, for the most part, a) older and b) not in the best of shape, they have played the game at a very high level for a very long time. Yes, some of them are in their 40s and Russ Howard was 50 when he won gold in Torino, but they’ve been throwing rocks for 35 years. You’re not going to go out, take up golf and make it to the Masters in two years so why do you think you can do the same in curling?
Go out, take up the sport, enjoy the game, go to a bonspiel (the one in Chicago is a dandy) and watch the best play.
* What is it with the concessions here are the Olympics? They sell sandwiches but do you think you can get a turkey or ham and cheese or roast beef? Nope, last night my choice was cucumber dill and cream cheese or hummus on waki bread, whatever that is.
* Either it’s a slow day on the Olympic docket or it’s getting to the end. This morning, there are a number of basically nice but completely curling clueless American columnists in the house. During the game between Canada and the U.S., one said to me: “Smith’s having a good isn’t he? Of course I don’t know what the hell I’m looking at.” Give them points for honesty.
* As far as I can tell, not one other Canadian Olympian has shown up to watch a curling game.
* I’m always amazed at how technically sound the slides of the Chinese women curlers are but how awful their releases are. One of the Canadian women curlers (whose identity I’ll protect) said it was almost impossible to read the ice off them because of it. One thing you can say is that they are consistent and it works for them.
* Is it a sign of concession? Although they’re not technically out of it, the American coaches are sitting right below me as Canada and the U.S. tangle this morning and no one is taking any notes, or recording any shots.