Many important updates
1) I'm in the Alpine village of Sestriere. To get to the media center from Barry Svrluga's Alpine ski chalet, you must climb an Alp. The road slants upward at a 70 degree ankle, while torrents of mud pouring down the road threaten to wash you into the Mediterranean. There is a Saint Bernard on the side of the road the size of Jon Jansen. Barry and the dog posed for pictures, while the dog tried to eat Barry. There was a blizzard raging. Luckily, the water resistant boots and wool socks and wick-away fleece I bought two days before departing for Italy were safely in my dorm room back in Turin, well-protected from the mud and snow.
2) Whisky, not whiskey. I'm sorry.
3) The centre of the curling target is the "button," not the "tee." I'm sorry.
4) George Mason fans have finally turned up. The Patriots won again last night, and are 20-5 for the second time in school history.
5) Curling thoughts on men vs. women and from Allison, who curled for her high school team in Nova Scotia. (By the way, true story: I got cut from my high school bowling team. Not many people can say that.):
I don't think there is much difference between men and women curlers. It's certainly not hard to move the stone and you don't want to throw at full weight most of the time anyway (unless you get to do a fun 'throw through' rock so you make sure you don't get any points that end (you're not the only one with the parentheses thing)). Maybe there is a style difference? But that might be more dependent on who is skipping rather than the sex of the person throwing the rock.
I think they divide up into men's and women's teams (and often co-ed teams) because there are so many people in Canada that want to play. And the rest of the world gets stuck with what Canada wants.
And a dissenting view from curlingfan:
Just to give my opinion on why women and men have separate divisions...their games are really different, men can throw much harder then the women and are able to clean up a lot of rocks and can also usually sweep harder. Its highly unlikely that the top womens teams could beat the top mens teams.
6) One reader has started TiVo'ing curling because of this blog.
7) More on the Alpini from reader Maffa:
The only thing i can add about what you have discovered is that the ANA (alpinis national association) is fully part of the Civil Protection, a government agency managing civil organization in time of crisis or exceptional situations (such as olympics, floods, pope deaths and so on) run by both pro's and volunteers. The alpini you met were retired, so they voluntered in the Civil Protection to be helpful.
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