I was all ready to share at considerable length the story of one man's struggle to survive sports purgatory for yet another year. You may recall sports purgatory is the barren wasteland of the sports year, lasting from the end of college football until the beginning of fantasy baseball, with a couple of oases included in the form of National Signing Day and March Madness.
Highlights were to include, and pretty much be limited to, iTunes adding Eddie Murphy's Party All The Time at long last! Though I know by mentioning that, I risk you rushing to the iTunes store immediately and never coming back.
But something happened on the way to that blog post. A new oasis emerged from the British Columbian countryside. And that something was the Olympics. Perhaps you've heard of them.
Oh, twas a shrewd move by Bob Costas to schedule the Winter Olympics right in the midst of this yearly sports abyss. It's like a get-out-of-purgatory-free card. And more thankful I could not be, as I've been able to add three hours of curling viewing and google-imaging Julia Mancuso to my daily routine of Wii and... breathing.
What? Let he who has never clicked to enlarge an image of Lindsey Vonn throw the first stone.
Speaking of throwing stones, is it just me or does curling seem to be on like five times as much as any other sport? I've watched so much curling that now when I close my eyes, all I can see are those curling rings -- green outer circle, white middle circle, and blue inner circle. They're etched in my brain.
I'm learning curling terms -- the button, the hack, in-turn, out-turn, guard, draw, freeze, peel, biter, in the house, and my favorite: shot-rock. One thing I really like about curling is that it's one of the few Olympic sports I could still possibly medal in at my age. Think about it, if I devoted my entire life to curling for the next four years... who knows? Although I tried playing a curling game I found online last week to help me learn the rules. Didn't help.
I actually had a 45-minute conversation about curling with Axl last night. I'm not sure I've ever had a 45-minute conversation about a single topic other than Alabama football in my entire life. Actually, scratch that. I just remembered my sometimes rather intense discussions about General Hospital with the Darryls.
Something I'm always curious about during the Olympics is where they find some of these announcers. They're experts on all these rather obscure sports, and fairly competent broadcasters as well. My question is, what do they do the other three years and fifty weeks between Olympics? I mean, is curling televised somewhere in the world year-round? And if so, how do I get that channel?
I prefer the sports where there is a tangible way of keeping score or time rather than the sports based on judging. I especially enjoy watching the splits as a skier or luger makes their way down the course, just a few hundredths of a second ahead or behind the leader. But while I enjoy watching the luge, I have no idea what makes one luger better than another. The luge announcer the other night was like, "Oh, he lifted his arm slightly in that turn. That's gonna cost him." What?
Another of the more interesting comments I've heard this Olympics was, "He started luging when he was ten." How does that even happen? Do they luge in gym class? Was the kid outside sledding with his friends one day when the Bela Karolyi of luge was driving by, saw the kid and spotted something special? Or is it like piano lessons, where the parents push the kid to luge even though he doesn't want to? "No, Ma. I don't wanna go down the icy track at eighty miles an hour." (For some reason, I just said that in an Eric Cartman voice.) "You'll luge and you'll like it! Now get in there!" Actually, that might make a good Lifetime movie, or ABC Afterschool Special. That is, if they had made ABC Afterschool Specials after 1996.
Finally, there is ice hockey. For reasons I'm not entirely sure of, ice hockey in the Olympics is the sport that makes me feel the most proud and patriotic. Maybe it's because we're never one of the favorites. And I'm sure it has something to do with the Miracle On Ice. Whatever it is, I was cheering and chanting as the United States skated to a 5-3 upset of Canada last night. "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
But the most inspirational story of these games had to be Wednesday night when Carrot Top -- who after a failed career as an aging comedian decided to take up snowboarding -- brought home gold in the half pipe.
Anyway, just a few more days until the games come to an end. At that point, it'll only be a month or so until baseball, which doesn't do a lot for me except that it also means fantasy baseball. Then at least I'll have my spreadsheets to keep me busy.
"My girl wants to party all the time, party all the time, party all the time..."