Olympians Playing Stoned

This post is intended as a shout-out to Jay, to Letterman, to comedy-writing staffs everywhere. Here’s the deal: I give you the straight line, culled from a real live news-piece – Women’s curling team receives psychological help, reports the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten – and you take it from there. It doesn’t have to mean sending me your women’s curling jokes (it wouldn’t have to be “Danish”) by e-mail*; I’d be satisfied just with hearing a good one – just one! – from Leno’s monologue, or simply having it come back home here to Papa through the Internets somehow.

This choice of topic is not accidental, although its further elaboration in the Danish press is serendipitous. And to a great extent I am offering my find here in gratitude for some great introductory curling material already enjoyed. I’m referring specifically to Letterman, Wednesday night, February 17, and his material could also be of help in providing some background for those of you who may have no idea what this Olympic sport of “curling” is all about.

In curling, they get a 40 lb. granite stone and send it down the ice and then they sweep the debris from in front of it. It’s all the fun of shuffleboard, plus household chores.

This is Letterman, remember, so there is also a Top Ten List, “Top Ten Surprising Facts About Curling.” Some selections:

10. Every year it’s watched by dozens of people.
9. Consistently ranked the world’s no. 1 broom-related sport.
8. It’s a lot like hockey, minus the speed and excitement.
. . .
5. Longest match ever: unknown, because no one ever stays till the end.

Perhaps we have a clue there, in #5, why the Danish women’s curling team felt the need to call in a sports psychologist, namely to help them work on their drive and determination to see matches through all the way to the end. But no, the article itself quickly gives a couple much more powerful reasons:

  1. These ladies have been carrying a very heavy weight of expectations on their womenly shoulders. As the article puts it, “The Danish curling-women were named ahead of the Olympic Games as Denmark’s one great medal-hope.”
  2. They have failed miserably! So far the ladies have played six curling-matches (which apparently pit a team against just one other opponent), and won only one of them.

So yes, one can understand how they could use someone’s shoulder to cry on, to get over the disappointment and even humiliation so they can approach their remaining games with a good, stiff upper-lip even as they know that their chances for any sort of winner’s medal are now purely theoretical.

But there’s more! The article gives the ladies’ trainer, Kjell-Arne Olsson (a man’s name, I believe), as he reveals to the Ritzau news agency his view of what went wrong. Basically, the Danish lady-curlers always did alright in the first half of a match, but started “missing some decisive stones” in the second half, so that the opponent could usually come back to win. And you also have here a somewhat tougher assessment from the marvelously-named Freddy Frederiksen, the “elite coordinator” of the two Danish curling-teams (men’s and women’s, natch) there in Vancouver: “We played some very tight games. . . . It’s the tight competition that means we can’t go any further. They [the ladies] played toe-to-toe with their opponents, but unfortunately were just not good enough.” C’mon gentlemen, all that should provide you with more-than-enough of what you need. “Danish curling rocks!” anyone? Dave? Craig? Coco?

On the other hand, from the photo at the top of the article – go ahead, go there now, guys – it does seem that this sport attracts more than its quota of genuine Danish babes. They don’t look like any losers to me; they can come cry on my shoulder anytime! (Maybe I need to look into joining my local curling club.) But that’s if the picture is genuine, of course; you never know, Jyllands-Posten might just have bought it instead from the “women’s curling section” of an on-line photo store like iStockphoto.

* I know, I shut off the comments on this site. But stay tuned! I’m just about to start parallel-posting entries to this blog on the EuroSavant Facebook fan page, so you’ll then be able to post your comments, and your curling-jokes, on that fan page’s wall!

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