Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Curling, the geek's (and anachronist's) sport

Okay, yes, I admit it: I was a weather wimp today, and am working from home. And while I wrestle with thorny data-flow problems in the UI, I have the Olympics playing in the background. Specifically, the men's curling competition.

Curling may not be the most exciting sport, but it sings to me in ways that most Olympic sports don't. In particular, I can really put myself in the player's shoes. With something like ski jumping or biathlon, cool though they may be, I can't honestly see myself doing them. But curling -- that not only looks possible, it looks like *fun*. Yes, that stone weighs a ridiculous amount, and the whole sweeping thing is kind of funky, but it's essentially a high-end version of shuffleboard. The positioning of the stones is decently strategic, and the combination shots are practically billiards.

Moreover, it's such a terribly *period* game, at least in style. The precise fiddly bits are modern, I'm sure, and the game itself might well be, but the basic concept is yet another instance of the period game category of "Throwing Things at Other Things". The game's nearly identical to bocce in most important respects, and similar to horseshoes, quoits and any number of other games. In particular, the scoring model is one that's very typical of period games -- despite the bullseye painted on the court, the *important* thing is really just who is closest to the target (the center of the court) and how many stones are closer than any of the opponent's.

So both the geek and the Laurel in me love watching the curling events in the Winter Olympics -- it's just plain my kind of game...

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