Dutch Curlers, the beginning

I had no desire to socialize last night, but I was getting obsessed with the Dutch Curling Team, and whether they were real or fake. I wouldn't have been able to sleep. So we went back to the Holland House, determined to get to the bottom of this mystery. Turns out it's hard to get to the bottom of anything at the Holland Heineken House, save for small plastic cups of Heineken.

With five people we needed two taxis: Style writer Libby Copeland, former Washington Post scribe Amalie "sounds like family" Benjamin and columnist Mike Wise went in one car, and Baltimore Sun columnist Rick Maese and I went in the other.

(Here's an interesting column Rick wrote about how the "rings-are-falling" Olympics bashers need to take into consideration Web traffic and not just TV ratings, although, let's be honest, most of the Web traffic seems to be from people trying to decide which Olympic athletes are hottest.)

(As long as we're making asides, did you read this Jeret "Speedy" Peterson story? If you missed it, the U.S. freestyle aerialist was sent home for getting in a late-night altercation with an Internet reporter and one of his own friends. First of all, no, that Internet reporter wasn't me. Second, I'm sort of surprised stuff like this doesn't happen more often, with the number of parties and the quantities of alchohol consumed over here.)

(And one more: Bode's done. Oh-fer-Turin. I still don't get the personal criticism, though. If you didn't like his personality before the Games started, that's cool, but the fact that he flamed out here doesn't really change his personality. And the fact that he still finished fifth and sixth in the world at two events despite his apparent bar-hopping in the mountains...well, that's pretty good. I'd take being the world's fifth-best Olympics blogger. So when this story, or at least the headline, implies Bode could be the Official Goat of these games, I don't get it. Goats are for making cheese. Including one I bought today, which I'll discuss later. Thoughts on Bode?)

(By the way, blogger PenguinSix points out that there is a Swiss bobsledder here who is also a cheese maker. The fact that I did not know this before today makes me unworthy to wear my replacement Olympic credential.)

Anyhow, it was cold and raining and after midnight, and I was going to a dance party armed with curling rosters. Specifically, Holland's roster from the 2005 European Championships: Reg Wiebe, Steve van der Cammen, Reinier Butot, Christiaan Offringa and Mark Rurup, none of whose names appeared in my notebook after Thursday night's encounter with the "Dutch Curling Team."

Cabs are exceedingly scarce nowadays, which seems odd, given that there are mobs of tip-happy foreigners waiting on street corners all over the city. (Turin natives, I love you, but you need more cabs. Entrepreneurs, buy your Fiats and tree-shaped air fresheners and head to Vancouver right now. You'll make a killing.)

So we struggled to get a cab. And by the time Rick and I got to the Holland House, and by the time we wrangled with the cab driver (Rick wanted to tip him, the cab driver didn't want to accept the tip), and by the time we walked through the Official Mud Bog of these games, the other three were long gone.

We could have used Mike Wise's powers of persuasion. The security guards said nearly 4,000 people were already inside, and no more would be admitted on this night. (Four thousand people! How many sporting events here have failed to draw 4,000 people! If you don't count all the schoolkids! Clearly they needed to put a dance floor and DJ and some Heineken taps and bright orange curtains and a few dancing bartenders in the curling venue; then we'd have been all set.) The security guards told us to leave.

So Rick and I waded through another Official Mud Bog, and casually headed toward the press entrance, which made me feel not at all guilty, since I was actually here to fulfill a strict journalistic duty. We got inside the door and the first person who saw us looked and my name tag and said, "Oh, we're definitely letting this guy in." That's when I thought, it's good to have a blog.

By Dan Steinberg |  February 25, 2006; 11:04 AM ET
Previous: One more thing | Next: Dutch Curlers, the middle

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» Olypmics of Cheese" from "PenguinSix.com
The Post's Blogger is writing about cheese again, but this time it concerns a tip I sent about the Swiss bobsledder who is part time athlete, part time cheesemaker. ANNEN Martin is a professional cheese maker from Switzerland who drives... read more »

Tracked on February 25, 2006 11:29 AM

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Wow - good to hear you have name recognition (either from a well-read blog or from you haunting the Holland House more than you're letting on). And good to hear you're engaging in some tough-nosed journalism. Oh, and NBC mentioned last night in their bobsled (bobsleigh?) telecast about the Swiss guy being a cheesemaker (apparently gruyere is his specialty).

Posted by: jhorstma | February 25, 2006 12:25 PM

Mike Wise's "power of persuasion" into parties is "Hi,I'm Mike Wilbon and I have 50+ guests"-ha! Works like a charm everytime... Give it a try!

GMU 96/JMU 68!
G.Doub 37/Fordham 24 @ half!

Posted by: Wise Girls-DC | February 25, 2006 04:50 PM

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