Mr and Mrs Jury Box spent a very pleasant late Friday night eating Kung Pau shrimp and watching the Canadian versus the Danish women in Olympic curling. Do you remember the part in Pippi Longstocking when she cleans Villa Villekula by strapping soap brushes to her feet and skating around the kitchen floor? The Danish women looked Pippi-like in their skirts and tights, and when they delivered the stone and started sweeping they would yelp to each other in Scandinavian: “Yi yi yi yi yi!”
Some people suggest that curling is slow and stodgy. Slow and stodgy!
Some people might not realize the US Olympic curling team is sponsored by Laphroaig whiskey and “Hurry Hard” condoms. (“We suspect the Olympic athletes will have a very good time in Vancouver,” remarks one commentator.)
And some people may not have seen the latest Women of Curling calendar. Not stodgy! (And not really SFW, it should be noted.)
As the old song goes, curling is the Roarin’ Game.
The Library and Archives of Canada has lots of curling history and photos. The image above is of the Carleton Place Bonspiel Team, winners of the C.C.C.A. Trophy, 1896-97. The winners of the Grand Challenge Cup, Winnipeg Bonspiel, 1892, have a bit of a Tri-Wizard Tournament look about them.
If you want to see the highlight films of the championships in Moncton in 1956 or Charlottetown in 1964, the Canadian Curling Association has you covered.
Curling History invokes the sprightly and diaphanous Spirits of Curling.
These gents look as if they would like to invoke spirits of a different sort.
And Electric Scotland presents a venerable song on the sport’s origins:
Auld Daddy Scotland sat ae day,
Bare leggit on a snawy brae,
His brawny arms wi’ cauld were blae,
The wind was snelly blawing:
As icicles froze at his snout,
He rowed his plaid his head about,
Syne raired to heaven a roupit shout,
Auld Albyn’s Jove misca’ing:
Chorus—”Oh! for a cheery, heartsome game,
To send through a’ the soul a flame,
Pitt birr and smeddum in the frame,
And set the blude a-din’ling.
“Oh, dool and wae! this wretched clime;
What care I for our hills sublime,
If covered aye wi’ frosty rime?
I’m right nuisehantlie dealt wi’.”
Quo’ Jove, and gied his kilt a heeze,
Fule Carle! what gars you grunt and wheeze?
Get up! I’ll get an exercise
To het your freezing melt wi’.
I’ll get a cheery, heartsome game, &c.
“Gae, get twa whinstanes, round and hard,
Syne on their taps twa thorn roots gird,
Then soop the ice for rnony a yard,
And mak’ baith tee and colly:
If in the hack your fit ye hide,
And draw or inwick, guard or ride,
Syne wi’ your besom after’t stride,
We’ll hear nae main o’ cauld aye.
That, Sawney, ‘s what I ca’ a game,” &c.
“Great thanks!” auld Daddy Scotland cries,
“Sly, pawky chield, for thy advice,
We’ll birsle now our shins on ice,
Instead o’ owre the ingle:
Let ilka true-born Scottish son,
When cranreuch deeds the snawy grun’,
‘Mang curling cores seek harmless fun,
And gar his heart’s blude tingle.”
Oh! curling, cauld•defying game, &c.