Welcome to the debut of live curling coverage here at Macleans.ca. I spent about 15 minutes last night asking a friend about the finer points of this great Canadian tradition and I think I’ve decided that it’s one of two things: chess on ice, or glorified shuffleboard. Over the next three hours we’ll endeavour to settle this age-old debate.
12:01pm CTV is hyping this as Super Sunday. Warning: higher-than-usual likelihood of disappointment ahead.
12:05pm You are looking live at Sheet C where the Canadians and Americans are about to settle once and for all which is the better country in North America. The stones are off and sliding.
12:12pm We’re apparently all here to see Cheryl Bernard, who my friend Michael Grange has likened to Courtney Cox’s character on Cougar Town. And apparently that was a compliment. The complicated nature of femininity at the Olympics is officially the most intriguing storyline of these Games.
12:15pm Ms. Bernard was on just now yelling “Hard!” quite forcefully. I take no position on the sexiness of this. In other news, we’re scoreless at the end of one.
12:24pm The crowd so far seems fairly well-behaved. Apparently we made a Danish curler cry last night. I’m generally of the opinion that if you can’t handle crowd noise, you shouldn’t be competing in any sport that takes place before an audience (which, I believe, is almost all of them) and that any sport that requires silence from its viewers is somehow less worthy of being called “sport.” But I’m open to being convinced otherwise.
12:30pm The U.S. slides the last one untouched through the House, but still gets a point. Americans leads 1-0 at the end of two.
12:33pm The U.S. skip is said to struggle with her draw weight. So that’s apparently what happened with that last shot.
12:42pm Ms. Bernard hits a perfect shot to take out an American stone and Canada has three in scoring position. I’m impressed. Even if I’m not entirely sure what’s going on.
12:44pm The American skip slides another one through, Bernard draws one perfectly and Canada leads 4-1.
12:50pm CTV is now showing us Skicross qualifications. Getting back to our discussion about femininity and the Olympics, that Danish curler apparently once posed topless.
12:58pm Back to curling. A scoreless fourth end, Canada holds its 4-1 advantage.
1:07pm Organizers are apparently urging fans to keep quiet. Russ Howard, doing colour commentary, seems noise-positive. Or at least noise-tolerant. Everybody seems to agree it’s better to have more fans with noise than less fans without noise. Strange to hear sensible sports commentary.
1:14pm Another nice shot by Bernard, another mistake by the Americans and it’s 6-1.
1:27pm And then there’s this: a male snowboarder has departed Vancouver, of his own accord or at official behest, after vaguely sexual pictures of him frolicking with his bronze medal were published by TMZ. Feel free to try to square that with all of the above.
1:33pm Bernard has apparently done “extreme hiking” in Brazil and kayaked in the Arctic. So basically, curling is the least athletic thing she does in her spare time.
1:36pm Bernard removes an American stone and Canada lies three, but the American skip curls one in to make it 6-2.
1:47pm Two American stones and two Canadian stones piled up above the button. Terribly complicated discussion ensues within Canadian team as to what they should do. This is fascinating. Even if, as noted, I don’t entirely understand what they’re saying.
1:51pm Canadians take out an American stone to the left of the pile. Americans try to break up the pile with marginal success. There’s not a lot of crude language in curling. This is why they can be hooked up to live microphones and athletes in other sports can’t.
1:54pm Bernard hits a nice shot and lies three. The process is outrageously complicated, even if the ultimate goal is very obvious and understandable. The appropriate analogy is possibly love or marriage or foreign aid.
1:58pm Canada takes three and apparently that’s it, 9-2. Canada is redeemed as the dominant force in North American curling and I have watched my first full curling match. That seemed spectacularly easy. Cheryl Bernard is like Courtney Cox crossed with Michael Jordan. Or something.