Watching curling

The Winter Olympics are around the corner. Putting the political and security issues aside, I’d probably end up watching a lot of curling.

Now, I am indeed the kind of person who would watch indoor bowls competition or snooker if it's on the telly, but there is a good reason why I do like to watch curling. Back in 1998, when I was still young and optimistic, I was a volunteer interpreter during the Nagano Games, and one of the few who actually understood English spoken by the members of the British (i.e. Scottish) team. The event was held in Karuizawa, many miles away from the main venues in Nagano and Hakuba, and I was given a ticket to see matches – after all it was not the most popular event – and it was fascinating. I suppose I like the strategic nature of the game, and the skills required to realize the plan. Curling is not a fast-paced sport (it is however shorter than Test cricket), but it can be really exciting, when a difference of millimetres can make a huge difference.

I remember the Swiss team bringing a huge cowbell to the venue and which was rung whenever there was a good shot by the Swiss but disturbing other teams, the Canadians going over the strategy at the hotel late into night, and there was a huge amount of Danish media interest after the women’s team won the country’s first and thus far the only medal in the Winter Games.

Those were good times, and they are fading a little from my memory: I have just realized, and I find it scary, that Nagano was 16 years ago.