Liz Clarke, truly an unbelievable person, has arranged for my phone to remain in place, not to be retrieved by anyone without official documentation proving he or she is, in fact, me. My contact is named Matilde. Liz is excited about the handoff: "Not every reporter has appointments at European checkpoints!" she notes. "Very dramatic!!!" Matilde will probably turn out to be one of Mike Wise's gun-toting biathletes.
I forgot to mention that I am wearing the collar on my somewhat hipsterish sweater fashionably turned up today, in honor of cowboy-hat wearing, tobacco-chewing Italian skip Joel. I hope he notices.
The crown prince and prime minister of Norway are here at the rink today. Princess Anne from England was here the other day.
I collared Canadian Kim, one of the coolest guys (yes, his name is Kim) of all time. He runs the Olympic News Service here at the curling venue. He's given me his take on men's curling superiority:
Periodically there's a challenge between top rinks and it all gets proven all over again. It's like tennis. It's generally felt that men play a more aggressive game, too. They get more rocks in play, just play a harder, tougher, faster game.
He also said that after Joel's first wins, a national sports paper here used a headline that said, more or less, "For Once, Italy Won't Have to Buy Drinks." Kim said this was as 100 percent wrong as possible, because curling tradition dictates that the winners buy drinks. Silly Italian sportswriters.
Kim also said that some curling clubs in Canada won't let husbands and wives be teammates, "because they figure it would be the ruin of the marriage. If you let it be that way, it's a game of recrimination." In other words, on any errant throw, you could presumably blame the skip (for a bad call), the thrower (for a bad throw) or the sweepers (for bad sweeping). Total teamwork, eh?
Which reminds me, the amount of responsibility for the skips is immense. They decide virtually every piece of strategy in a game that is, what, 75 percent strategy? They're all Peyton Manning, every game.
This led to a discussion of Ring Lardner's story, Alibi Ike, which I've never read.
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Posted by: Henry | February 17, 2006 11:56 AM