Wicked mad props to Vancouver public transportation. In the words of a fellow passenger, taking the train and bus was "impressive" and "painless." Anytime public transportation is painless, it's impressive.
Also, we saw a total of ten different teams, and three of them won medals! Two bronze and a gold!
Now, onto how amazingly cool curling is. There are many reasons for this.
Curling is, in Kyler's words, a combination of bowling, golf (because Scotsmen are cool), polo, chess and Starcraft. If you want further explanation, you'll have to consult him.
It's very much a gentleman's game, or a game of kings. The officials do, basically, nothing, except keep score. They generally don't even DECIDE the score, they just record it. If the two team captains (skips) agree, that is the score, without any officials needed. The only time the skips don't agree is if the stones are literally so close together that they can't tell which is closer. This is the only time the officials are called over, and it's just to measure. The players don't call foul, they don't say someone cheated, or this judge or that official favored this country or that. Heck, if they want the game to be over early, the two teams just have to shake hands and that's the end. No need for officials at all.
The game we went to started with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police leading out the teams (score!), and then had a bagpipe band open the match! Apparently all curling stones are made in Scotland, always. Awesome, no?
It's a sport that you can learn later in life, and keep playing later in life. Whereas figure skaters retire at age 30 it seems, some curlers in these Olympics were in their forties. Curling isn't easy, the precision is amazing and the strength it must take the sweep those stones... crazy. But it's something your body can learn to do and handle for basically your whole life, which is sweet.
Curlers also have awesome fashion sense. Well, at least the Norwegians do:
As the sign that we saw at our curling match said, "Canada's Men=Gold. Norway's Pants=Silver." And it came true!
The curling match we went to had three separate pairings: France v Sweden (who ended up with fourth), China v Switzerland (who ended up with bronze), and Great Britain v Canada (who ended up with GOLD! Go Team Martin!). Let me tell you, if felt more like a hockey game than a curling match. The Canada/Britain match was especially exciting, and Wayne Gretzky was there! The coolest part of the curling match, and of the Olympics for me, was when the entire crowd started singing "O Canada." Don't believe me? Watch the video. (Each word, except "O Canada" and "Watch the video" are different links, by the way)
You may be saying (if you watched the gold medal match) that people sang O Canada another time, it can't be all that cool. But I have four reasons why the time we sang it was cooler:
- We sang it first. While those who sang it at the gold medal match were imitating us and thus knew cool when they saw it (in us), they still just got the idea from us, not on their own.
- Theirs was the gold medal game, which everyone knows includes at least one national anthem. This means their spontaneous singing was more expected, thus less original, and less cool.
- Our singing was more in tune. At least one of those articles linked above even mentioned the in-tune-ness.
- Our match was much closer, with Canada actually being down by one instead of up by three, when the singing broke out. This means it was less celebratory and more helpful, in attempting to give the Canadian boys the spirit and will to win. While celebrations are fun, helping give strength to a team when they need it is cooler.
- And, I know I said four, but here's another one: Kyler and I were actually there!