I love following the American media's attempts to understand curling. Everywhere I go, I'm finding curling referred to in terms of Strange Sports That Don't Make Sense. And then today I encountered a claim on an American site that curling was a rich people sport, because it costs $450/year (in certain parts of the US, apparently) to join a curling club.
This is really funny to Chris and me, because curling's like bowling here. (I was going to clarify that by "here" I mean "back home," but I heard an Island-native friend complain about curling based on the fact that the only curlers out here are old people from Saskatchewan.) And it certainly doesn't cost $450/year, probably because prairie curling clubs have owned their (admittedly expensive) rocks since the dawn of time.
Curling is ubiquitous in Saskatchewan. Every small town kid I know has taken part in at least one bonspiel. I know more towns that have curling rinks than towns that have hockey rinks; they double as town halls, meaning that even though I've only curled a couple of times (in grade 8 gym), even I have spent a significant number of my formative hours in curling rinks. (Wedding receptions, small-town graduations, family reunions.) We came close to have each my wedding reception and my 10-year high school reunion in curling arenas, and I'm from a city. (A city that has named public buildings and streets after its first gold-medal-winning skip, and who treated her young death like the rest of the world treated Princess Diana's.)
It's just so funny to me; at the same time as I've been watching curling for the first time in forever and reflecting on how familiar and homey it is for me (every player for Canada's men's team either looks like my high school teachers or kids I grew up with, whereas most other athletes look like otherworldly aliens), everywhere I go I'm encountering references to curling as being strange or confusing.
It's just strange when you have a chance to see how other people view your culture.