Friday, February 26, 2010

Things that amuse me

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.


The Blog Fodder said...

Good observations, QWP. curling is a cold country sport since before the days of artificial ice, cold weather was all important.
I was curling in Leipzig in highschool when a Chinook hit, just as I delivered. The temperature went up so fast the ice went out and the rock was kicking up dust by the time it got to the house.

Some girl in Seattle many years back said she never heard of curling. I got even with her by saying I had never watched a basketball game. Which was technically true until Bron was in Grade 8.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Curling is more expensive here -- but, at least in MN, it isn't $450 to join a club..

On the other hand, it's Hubby's birthday today -- we're in Duluth (home of Schuster's club) and we're going to curl this afternoon...

jo(e) said...

I admit to being one of those people who is only vaguely aware of what curling is. You'd think, since it's a cold weather sport, it would be present here in Snowstorm Region, but it's not.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

You know, I was thinking about IPF and jo(e) -- both of whom live/have lived in cold parts of the US close to Canada. I wonder what makes curling, a Scottish sport, so big in certain parts of Canada. Saskatchewan isn't even primarily Scottish, although it was more so when the province was first founded.

Huh. The historian in me is curious now, and wants to get my sports historian friend on the case. (He did a study of cricket in Victoria, which was neat.)

(And I just checked the Callie Club in Regina, which is the best-known one, and its base price for annual membership is $225/year, plus the cost of the different bonspiels, or if you're curling more casually it's $5/visit. Chris said that in the small town where he lived it was maybe $90/year for membership or $3/visit.)