SOCHI, Russia -- Well, I finally got to curling. The time simply got away from me, with all the hockey games. But I promised my buddy, Chris Burke, I would check out the Ice Cube venue. Chris has been holding curling bonspiels in his North Buffalo back yard for years, using frozen windshield washer jugs as stones. We honor the beer drinking tradition, too.
I went to the gold-medal match Friday afternoon on my way to the hockey game, thinking I could kill two birds with one, uh, stone. I could fulfill my promise to see curling, and also ease some of my guilt about ignoring Canada in the Olympics. Canada didn't let me down. They whipped Great Britain, 9-3. I saw the finish, because it was such a blowout the Brits conceded after the eighth of 10 scheduled "ends."
I like curling. It's usually on in the press room and I watch while working on stories and researching ice dancing. The Canadian women also won gold. I saw their narrow win in the semifinals. I even began to understand the sport, which is basically shuffleboard on ice. These people are amazing. They're generally successful on, like, 96-98 percent of their shots. The Canadian men were near-perfect, from what I could tell. Unlike figure skater Kim Yuna, they actually got rewarded.
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun told me the Canadians and British aren't fond of each other in curling. Those countries do have a little history. But it was pretty subdued when I got there because the Brits were well behind. The highlight was four Elvis impersonators in black wigs, dressed in Canada's red and white, chanting into fake microphones, "Who rocks the house? Canada rocks the house!"
Now I want to go find the curling club in Buffalo and do a story on them. I hear the weather is getting warmer back home, so I doubt Chris Burke's sheet will be playable.