Curling is Officially America’s Sport

America is desperately in need of a new pastime.  Baseball is a beautiful sport, but kids these days have no patience for it.  The millennials just aren’t into it.  Football is plagued with numerous player safety issues that have drastically changed the game over the last decade.  Who knows if it will even be around 10 years from now.  So who are we supposed to rally around as a country?  The NBA?  Please.  Nobody gives a shit about basketball.  NHL?  I could get on board with that, but unfortunately the majority of the country hasn’t.  Soccer?  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!  Get out of here…  So, in my mind, that just leaves one option:  curling.

“But Whitty, didn’t you just swear off of curling because you were sick of the deep-rooted culture of PED use that has plagued the sport for centuries weeks?”

Yeah, I’ll admit that the latest doping scandal to hit the world of curling definitely soured me to the sport.  I was feeling a little jaded.  Curling had felt safe.  It felt pure.  So when I heard about the scandal, it cut me deep.  I felt betrayed.  I didn’t know who I could trust anymore.  I was about ready to start brushing up on my biathlon fan handbook when the Curling Gods sent me a hero.  Or four heroes, rather.

Team Shuster to the rescue with USA’s first ever curling gold medal to bring me right back to the beloved sport.  Now I will admit that I watched little to no curling during these Olympics, outside of highlights on TV and Twitter.  But it wasn’t for lack of interest, or lack of trying.  I’m placing the blame on time zones.  I’ve found that in my old age, I’ve lost the ability to stay up past 10 PM with any consistency.  I even tried setting an alarm for 1:30 AM for the gold medal game.  Slept right on through.  Thank God for DVR.  I’m sure I’m not alone there either.  If you’re going to spread interest in the sport curling, you need to put that shit in prime time.  And while we’re at it, quit scheduling Olympic sports around local time.  All future Olympics should follow an Eastern Timezone schedule.  I don’t care if that means people will be waking up at 2 AM to go watch speed skating.  If you don’t like it, move to the Eastern Timezone.

The story of John Shuster and the rest of his US curling team is actually pretty great.  He had seen his fair share of failure and heartbreak during the past few Winter Olympics, and heading into PyeongChang nobody had any expectations for Team USA.  When they fell to 2-4 in their first 6 games, they were little more than an afterthought.  Shuster and is ragtag band of misfits then proceeded to rattle off 5 straight victories, capped off by this amazing throw that broke a 5-5 tie and gave Team USA a 10-5 lead late in the gold medal match:

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Wow is right, Matt Hamilton.  By the way, the single greatest thing to come out of these Olympics may be all of the great Matt Hamilton gifs.  If you’ve been following Team Shuster and US Curling on Twitter, you know what I’m talking about.  I’m seriously considering communicating strictly via Matt Hamilton gifs from here on out.  If Shuster is the face (and name) of Team USA, then Matt Hamilton is definitely the mustache. I think it’s safe to say that this the greatest underdog story in the United States’ Olympic history. The 1980 US Men’s hockey team winning gold? Please. This was the real miracle on ice. I can’t wait for the movie to come out.

Curling has a lot working in its favor to become the top sport in the United States.  It’s simple a simple concept, but it’s surprisingly exciting.  Things actually got pretty intense during the few matches I actually managed to catch.  Plus it’s the type of sport that the average viewer at home convinces themselves they could do (my guess is they probably can’t, though), which helps draw in interest.  And it seems like a sport that would lend itself to pounding a few beers during play, which is always a plus.  The biggest problem for curling is that it’s only on a national stage every four years.  Most people, myself included, tend to forget that it even exists until the Winter Olympics start up.  There’s only one surefire way to keep the nation’s interest on curling in between Olympics:  make it into a video game.  How badass would EA Sports Curling 2018 be?  I would buy that game in a heartbeat.  I assume Hamilton would be the cover athlete since the fans seem to have really taken to him. Pretty soon you’re going to start seeing kids pretending to curl with pillows and broomsticks on their hardwood floors instead of shooting hoops in their driveway or playing football in the backyard. It may take some time, but sooner or later curling will win over the hearts of Americans. Or maybe we’ll forget about it until Beijing in 2022. Either way, it was entertaining as hell to watch here in 2018.

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