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Leo Paré - Red Deer Advocate

Leo Paré is the News and New Media Editor for the Red Deer Advocate. Contact him at lpare@reddeeradvocate.com

Follow Leo on Twitter — https://twitter.com/LeoPare'

Curling more of an activity than a sport

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Red Deer Advocate

Sport, by my definition, is an activity requiring athleticism, skill and serious physical exertion.

Hockey, football, basketball, soccer and even baseball are sports.

Curling is really more of an activity.

I’ve never been a curling fan, but for the past few weeks I thought it best to bite my tongue as Red Deer revelled in the national fervour surrounding the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

I’m sure to take a little flak for sharing my distaste for this popular pseudo-sport, but I felt compelled to speak out on behalf of all those non-curling fans out there who are afraid to comment for fear of reprisal or persecution.

I’ve given curling a fair shot. I’ve participated on occasion and had a few laughs.

It’s not that I hate the game, but life is just too short.

The historical origins of curling are a bit of a mystery, but I’m willing to bet alcohol was involved. Caught somewhere between shuffleboard and lawn bowling on the excitement scale, curling lacks speed, physical contact and competitive ferocity — primary traits in any genuine sport.

Granted, it takes tremendous skill and focus to accurately direct a 18-kg stone to a target more than 30 metres away. And I’m sure all that furious sweeping and shouting involves a degree of physical exertion.

All of that considered, the undeniable boredom factor remains.

I remember thinking how odd the contrast was when CBC kept flipping their Olympic Winter Games coverage back and forth between bobsled racing and curling — kind of like going from The Fast and The Furious over to CPAC.

My grandparents can’t get enough curling on TV. During last year’s Brier, they came to my house for a weekend visit, so I was subject to several hours of spellbinding curling ‘action.’

Although wildly successful in many aspects, this year’s Scotties was a bit short on attendance, coming in just shy of 100,000 visitors over the course of the week — down significantly from the 2004 figure of 112,886.

I spoke with many people who attended and most described the experience with phrases like, “It was neat,” or “It was kind of cool to see it.”

Not once did I hear it described as “awesome,” or “exciting,” or “unforgettable.”

The Canadian Curling Association should find a way to add bodychecking and speed up the game by about 400 per cent. That ought to bolster those spectator numbers the next time around.

I’m kidding — sort of.

Leo Paré is the Advocate’s online editor. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LeoPare

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