I guess this is what an addiction feels like. You tell yourself you're done. You try to fill your life with other things. But then it's morning, and you're staring at the bus schedule, trying to figure out what time you should depart for the curling venue.
"Nooooooo," said loving roommate Les, when I told him where I was going. He told me that he really likes this blog, except for the curling parts, which is sort of like telling Dostoevsky that you really like his novels, except for the depressing parts.
Anyhow, Nationals beat writer Barry Svrluga and I got on the noon bus to Pinerolo. As we were leaving town, we pulled up next to another bus that seemed to be carrying a men's ice hockey team. We stared at them. They stared at us. One of them was chewing something and spitting into a bottle. We had no idea who they were. Simply Red's "If You Don't Know Me By Now" came on the bus radio. Really. As we pulled away, we saw a sign identifying them: Kazakhstan. Where else but the Olympics can you engage in a staredown with the Kazakhstani men's hockey team?
Barry is writing a story about cowboy-hat wearing spiky-haired Italian hipster Joel mit der mullet, who is now so big that he appeared on MSNBC last night. So yes, right now the Washington Post is devoting 25 percent of its Olympics writers to the Italian curling team.
When we were outside the venue, who should we see but Joel and his curling teammates, blasting a small soccer ball into the wall of the curling arena and volleying it back and forth in a circle. It was about one hour until the biggest curling moment of his life, today's round robin finale against Switzerland, and Joel had his pants rolled up and was unloading on this little silver soccer ball. Tremendous.
Barry and I set up shop by the fans' entrance. I found out the exact nature of the annoying Swiss chant ("Hopp Schwitz" in German, and "Hop Suisse" in French). I walked into the arena, heard the "Hop Suisse" chant and left. I took a photo of Barry posing with Olympic mascots Neve and Gliz. Barry accidentally knocked Gliz on the head with his arm, and then Gliz kept trying to hit Barry while I was taking pictures.
I asked the crazed American fans whether they could sing their "Jeepers Creepers Sweepers" song for my video camera, but they said they had already done so for NBC, so we settled on their "Take Me Out to Torino" song. (Video to come tomorrow.) We saw Joel's parents, and it turns out his father has a tremendous pseudo-handlebar moustache--"as if Rollie Fingers did not use grease," Barry said--while his brother's girlfriend wore a bright blue wig. Now we know where Joel got his style.
We came inside for the start. The teams came out to much fanfare. The Americans exchanged exploding fist bumps. Hundreds of Italian schoolkids shrieked for Joel. "This is among the five most ridiculous things I've ever seen, and they haven't even thrown a stone yet," Barry said.
As for your morning scoring updates, they're not good. The Kiwi Curlers made a substitution, going with young native New Zealander Warren Dobson instead of 50-year old native Canadian Lorne DePape, but the lineup change hasn't helped. At halftime against Germany, hardly an international power, it's 9-1. And despite enthusiastic crowd support, the Italians trail Hop Suisse 8-2 at halftime, and could see their playoff dreams end within the hour. If that happens, I might try to change my plane ticket so I can get out of here tomorrow. Addictions always end badly.
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Posted by: Wise Girls-DC | February 20, 2006 10:30 AM
Posted by: Wise Girls-DC | February 20, 2006 04:21 PM