Will Morrow (courtesy)

Will Morrow (courtesy)

Bringing it to the house

For pure hypnotic value, it’s hard to beat curling.

The Winter Olympics are here, and that can only mean one thing: curling on TV.

I — like many other casual sports fans — know very little about curling, except what I manage to retain from the last Winter Olympics. Teams take turns throwing stones at the house, there are people with brushes who sweep the ice in front of the stones, and there will be at least one team wearing really loud pants.

And with that limited knowledge, I will be mesmerized for hours.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am easily mesmerized. For example, I’ve recently been sucked in to watching by online videos of people mowing overgrown lawns.

I also enjoy watching sporting events that fall outside of the mainstream. Remember when, late at night, ESPN used to play video of anything they could get their hands on, just to fill the airtime? Some of my favorites were Australian rules football and riding lawnmower races.

Like I said, easily mesmerized. And with plenty of events that I wouldn’t see otherwise, the Winter Olympics offer up plenty of opportunities for mesmerization.

Sure, I will be riveted during the cross-country skiing events. I love watching people who can do things the way they’re supposed to be done, rather than the way I attempt to do them.

And Olympic hockey has been a must-watch event for me ever since my first exposure to it during the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” game. Growing up, my mom wouldn’t let us watch hockey — televised NHL games were “too violent” — but on that day, it was something special.

But I can flip on a hockey game almost any night of the week. How often do you get to see short-track speed skating on TV? And while the action on the local sled hills can be intense, it doesn’t quite compare to athletes sliding face-first down the hill at 80 miles per hour in skeleton.

For pure hypnotic value, it’s hard to beat curling. As I said, I’m no curling expert. I remember a few curling terms from four years ago, but the closest I’ve come to actually participating would be a spirited game of shuffleboard on the annual family vacation.

There’s something soothing about watching the stones sliding down the ice — it’s almost like they’re in slow motion. And the “thunk” you hear when one stone hits another is completely satisfying.

Pair those with the calm discussions of strategy and the frantic yells of “sweep” as each team tries to get their rock closest to the button — it’s fascinating.

I will admit, not everyone in my household is as fascinated. In fact, there are some who would call it “boring” or “dull.” They don’t seem to appreciate the nuances of the sport.

Fortunately, the Olympics come with plenty of viewing options, and we can check out any sport we want, mainstream or obscure, at just about any time we want. So, while our primetime viewing might be mostly figure skating or alpine skiing, there will still be plenty of time for checking out the curling competition.

Of course, I will be cheering on Team USA in all the events. I hope everyone watching is able to find some inspiration and appreciate the skill and dedication it takes to compete at the international level.

If you happen to be flipping through channels and come across some curling, maybe check it out. But if that’s not your thing, that’s OK. I can send you a link to some really good lawn care videos. And if you happen to come across some riding lawnmower racing, let me know!

Will Morrow lives in Kenai. Email him at willmorrow2015@gmail.com.

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