Dutch Curlers, the end

The "Dutch Curling Team" research continued all night.

There were more explanations about the "younger generation" and its feud with the national federation, and the problems of the Dutch system, and the problems within the team.

"You shouldn't be writing all this down," Frank said. "You should be having fun."

So if these guys really are curlers, they appear to have excellent media relations skills.

One curler was named Bub Messing, which would be an excellent name for a Dutch gent pulling an Olympics scam, but it appears also to be his actual name. I asked him whether the "Dutch Curling Team" had ever represented Holland in an international curling tournament.

"Not yet, but we are practicing very hard and we will be in Vancouver," he said. "Holland is not really a curling country, but we will be." Added Maarten: "We will work for that, we promise you man." He told me they practice twice a week.

So if these guys really are curlers, they appear to be quite motivated.

The guys introduced me to Lotte Wieland, a young woman who said she was the team's mascot.

"Do you know Neve and Gliz for the Olympics?" she asked. "I am that for them."

So if these guys really are curlers, they appear to have groupies.

After the DJ finally stopped punishing my ear drums, I asked three of the curlers whether they knew who had won yesterday's gold medal game. One of the three answered correctly. I asked a guy named Marco (nickname: "Maracoca") whether he could name any of the Olympic skips. "I know the skipper of the girlie team," he said. (Remember, I successfully named nine out of the 10 Olympic men's skips. These guys, on the other hand, were preoccupied with the Swedish women's team.) I asked Maarten whether he could name any of the Olympic skips. "Not yet," he said.

So if these guys actually are curlers, they follow the sport less devoutly than any curler I've ever met.

Another curler told me that the "Dutch Curling Team" had played Denmark in an exhibition at the Olympic venue in Pinerolo last week. He said the Danes won, 10-0. In 98 Olympic curling games this month, men's and women's, no teams were shut out. And yet, in a meaningless exhibition, the "Dutch Curling Team" was apparently blanked.

So if these guys actually are curlers, they appear to be monumentally bad.

I talked to Oblong for the third or fourth time. ("I'll bet you his name's not really Oblong," co-worker Barry Svrluga said. "It's probably Trapezoid or something.") Oblong tried to explain the team's internal conflicts. One of his teammates had told me that Oblong was their best curler, but Oblong said there was some sort of political power play that was forcing him to the sidelines. Maarten came up and talked to us briefly, and then left.

"He is a stinking horse," Oblong said.

So if these guys actually are curlers, they are international curling's version of the Philadelphia Eagles.

I saw Maarten at the coat check, as the club was attempting to close. I tried to interview him again. He looked at my TNT hat. "You should be independent," he said. Style writer Libby Copeland came and dragged me away.

So where do we stand? I have no idea. The general consensus around the office is that these guys do curl, and that they do hope to represent Holland in the future, but that they have willingly allowed American journalists to think that they are more powerful in the curling world than they actually are, and that I know more about real Olympic curling superstars than they do. Which reflects poorly on all of us.

Let me let end the saga with a comment from reader Bobbie:

Oh, Danny! Does it really matter? Hasn't it been the ride of your life? Or at least the ride of these last two weeks of your life? And hasn't it been one strange and wonderful trip? Didn't one of 'em give you a red Olympics glove, just the right one? Heck yeah, they're real--as real as any of this all is...Deep breath, babycakes; then just keep on truckin'.

By Dan Steinberg |  February 25, 2006; 2:13 PM ET
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Dan, It's time to give props to the USA Curling team - it's only fair!

Posted by: Tom | February 25, 2006 06:38 PM

Dan--only way to know for sure is to find a way to see them curl. Isn't there some empty Olympic curling space you could appropriate for this important purpose? Otherwise I say just let it ride. They have been a fun bunch to hear about, and for you to hang with.

Posted by: snowflakelover | February 25, 2006 07:49 PM

The 'Dutch curling team'? Eight students from Rotterdam. I think that's brilliant.

Posted by: Nick S | February 26, 2006 01:56 AM

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