Wii Curling |

February 19, 2010 by Post Team 

wii-curling-300x108Wii Curling | snowed on Tuesday – eventually, so we all spent a day at home watching the Olympics.  The sport of the day was curling.  That segued into the sport of the night a little later, and that sport was dog showing.  Germany, Japan, and the Scottish Terrier won, in that order, and all on the very same TV channel.

Curling looked like fun.  As nearly as I can tell from seeing it once every four years on in the Olympic Games, it consists of sliding a polished, rounded rock down a sheet of ice in an effort either to score points by placing your rock in a bull’s eye or to keep the other team from scoring.  One person slides the rock and two others sweep the ice in front of it to guide it on whatever course they want.

It’s shuffleboard on ice.  It’s billiards without the table.  It’s an Olympic sport.  And it’s available for the Nintendo Wii.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no athlete.  Somehow, I’ve just never been fast.  Even at my lightest – which was actually pretty light – I wasn’t a speedy runner, but I could pile up the miles.

But that doesn’t seem to matter for curling.  The most exertion seems to be scrubbing the ice with a brush.  Heck, I figure I could do that.

And that, my friends, is the Olympics in your middle age.  Once upon a time the quadrennial festival of “higher, faster, farther” would inspire you to go jogging, jumping, lifting, or something else – not really to become an Olympian, but almost always with the secret fantasy that somehow it could happen, that you might be the undiscovered phenom, Carl Spackler’s “Cinderella story,”  if you only figured out what sport or event matched your hidden talent.

A few years later, though, when you felt your age, you started looking for older faces in the Parade of Nations.  It didn’t help if they were aging stars from strenuous sports like swimming, weight lifting, or figure skating, returning to add to the medals they won in previous Olympiads.  Victory laps presupposed prior victory and you didn’t have time for that.

Then after another four or eight years you began to watch for sports that didn’t involve too much exercise.  Shooting pistols looked good.  Any American can shoot a pistol, right?  It’s in the Constitution.  And it didn’t involve shortness of breath or anyone shooting back.  Just buy a mail-order handgun, spend a few weekends on the range, then show up at the Olympic village and ask for your room keys.

(And you figured you’d get them, too.  After all, you did have a gun.)

Or you know what looked even better?  BB guns.  You can actually win a Summer Olympics medal by dressing up in heavy coats that muffle your heartbeat, calculating windage and distance, and shooting a high-tech BB gun at a paper target.  Hasn’t every kid had a BB gun?  The baggy clothes would even conceal the weight you’ve put on since then, and the rest was just trigonometry.  They taught me that in pilot school.

But by then you started noticing something about the older Olympians – they looked a little silly there among all those young faces.  You could do chunky.  You could do awkward.  But silly was an insult too far, even if self-inflicted.  One of those funny things about getting older is that dignity counts more than adventure, and the pride gained from entering theOlympic Games seems to count less than the pride risked by looking silly in the effort.  Preserving your image of what you are becomes more important than trying to become something more.

And that works on the curling ice too.  It doesn’t seem to be real hard, but curling is probably best left to the kids – where “kids” is defined as around twenty years younger than I.   There are limits even for the “me generation,” and it turns out they hold Olympics for the same reason why we have public schools, and it’s a secret our parents knew.  Somewhere in life you must learn to matter less than the people who come after you.

But not so much in dog shows.  They still belong to us coots.  You can have your snowboards, BB guns, and hurdles.  The Scottish terrier is more my speed.  That, and curling on the kids’ Wii.

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