Vancouver 2010: The Great One Gets It

21 02 2010

I have become engrossed in Olympic curling, and thanks to the magic of Google I now understand the object of the sport. In short, the team that has the most stones closest to the bullseye at the conclusion of each “end” scores that many points. If Team A has one stone directly at the center of the bullseye and Team B has 2 stones just outside of it, Team A scores a point and Team B scores nothing. In golf, this would be similar to a “closest to the pin” contest.

Wayne Gretzky put in an appearance during Saturday’s Canada/Great Britain (Men’s) contest and was invited to join the NBC commentators. Gretzky was quick to proclaim that the next advent in curling should be split teams (2 men, 2 women) to showcase the best of the sexes, rather than what usually is framed as a battle between the sexes. To Gretzky, and I concur, there is no discernible difference between male and female curlers. Well, in terms of form and mechanics. I find the women to be better looking, to the last.

Now that I understand the point of curling, I am finding the game to be very cerebral and am enjoying seeing how the various teams approach the sport. I was very pleased to hear Wayne Gretzky zero in on how the male/female divide can be celebrated rather than used as a cudgel by the “haters” and suchlike. Curling is very much interested in attracting a new and younger following so whatever steps can be taken to drive interest from everyone, male or female, has to be a plus.

I came away from this experience (still in progress) with a fresh interest and respect for the game. And for Wayne Gretzky. More of this kind of thinking, please.

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