My Curling Manifesto: Crying, Fainting, Loving Curling


USA Today

Curling is the best and I love it.

Picture this: It’s a Saturday night (well, really it’s Sunday since the clock is reading 1:29 a.m.) and, after enjoying plans with my friends, I’ve met up with my boyfriend at his house. My Snuggie is on, my face is covered in a light, tasteful layer of Aquaphor and my glasses are perched on the bridge of my nose. While we discuss what we’ve been up to, we decide to turn on the Winter Olympics. 

Now I’m not going to lie, last week I wasn’t really “in my prime.” It took me five hours (and a break to cry) to do my marine science take-home quiz, which our professor told us should only take around 80 minutes. Last Wednesday, I literally fainted in my room for no reason and had to just chill on the floor for awhile like I was in one of those senior citizen Life Alert ads. So I acknowledge that maybe I’m in a fragile place.

But, when we turned on curling, an event chosen at random, as I shoveled ice cream covered in hot fudge into my mouth, I felt myself enthralled. Captivated. Physically, emotionally and mentally invested. It turns out curling is really fun and I believe, nay, I demand, that more people watch it.

I neither know the rules nor understand what is going on. Instead, I am more in awe of the way the curlers yell at each other. On one end, an Australian woman screams at her partner, who is clearly trying his best. As he’s skating and sweeping, she’s yelling at him about how he needs to sweep faster or slower, though to be honest I can’t tell how she can actually see anything. I think she just likes to be the boss, which I guess I understand.

In this interaction, I have to commend the man for not crying. She’s yelling a lot; if someone were to speak to me in that way I probably would’ve started crying and hyperventilating on the ice (we covered earlier in this pro-curling manifesto that I cry easily, like when completing a take home quiz for a 100-level science course).

At this point, I’ve resorted to eating the hot fudge out of the jar with a spoon while Googling the official rules and history of curling. The sport was started in the 1700s in Scotland and was first featured in the Olympic games in 1924. After that, it was competed infrequently, finally earning a permanent spot in 1998, while mixed doubles wasn’t added until 2018.

Even though George has explained the rules to me and I have looked them up and they are fairly easy to understand, they are lost on me. Instead, I am dazzled by the partners, both screaming at each other in their native languages, pushing a stone around a sheet of ice. 

I think the reason I like the sport so much is because it feels so approachable; I don’t know how to skate or have any upper arm strength, yet I wholeheartedly believe that if you gave me a stone and gave my friend Nicole a broom we could make it all the way onto the Olympic podium. This is not to diminish the accomplishments of any professional or semi-professional curler that might attend our esteemed college, but I feel like I could do it. 

At this point the match (game? meet?) ended, and we started watching the Chinese team face off against an Italian duo. “The man,” George said, “looks like a contestant on ‘The Bachelorette’ who got eliminated during the second week,” which is both accurate and shows that he actually pays attention when I watch reality television around him.

The fact is, I had a really shitty week. It’s hard to be in Maine during the winter, especially when you’ve been living in Lewiston since the fall of your sophomore year (I stayed here over the summer). I’ve been feeling kind of burnt out lately, as I suspect many have, but watching a weird Olympic sport like curling really helped my mental health. Which is kind of pathetic, as it shows how fragile my mental health is, but let’s ignore that.

I loved watching curling, and almost everyday I put on some form of Olympic event to watch now. I urge Bates students to take part and also flip on the Olympics this week. But more than that, it’s important to take time out of our busy schedules to take care of ourselves and watch something fun, like the Olympics or the latest episode of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” (my favorite housewife this season is Lisa Barlow). 

So, yes. Curling may be stupid and I may struggle with severe anxiety that manifests itself into collapsing at random in my dorm room, but watching something that’s fun and weird really helped. I hope our campus community can find an hour of their time this week to turn on the Olympics and watch a sport like curling or ski jumping or figure skating. It’s worth it.