I can’t speak for everyone, but these Winter Olympic games have been hard to keep up with.
For one, Pyeongchang is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. If, for example, you wanted to check out how Team USA does in women's hockey Tuesday, you’d probably be out of luck. That event kicks off at 7 a.m. I wake up that early only when my cat walks across my face because his food bowl isn’t full enough.
For Larry Nassar, a former doctor for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, there is no punishment cruel enough.
The other reason is the complete lack of hype surrounding this year’s games. Remember 2014 in Sochi, Russia? Storylines were plentiful. A classic American-Russian rivalry was renewed on foreign soil. Olympic Park, the housing area for athletes, was rife with Tinder users from all across the world trolling for a midnight biathlon. Lolo Jones swapped her running shoes and media scrutiny for a bobsled and even more media scrutiny.
In 2018, however, the Russians don’t have an “official” team after their doping scandal finally caught the eye of the International Olympic Committee, so the USA-Russia rivalry just doesn’t feel the same. Lolo Jones didn’t make the bobsled team. And if there are late-night hookups happening, it hasn’t hit the internet yet.
There’s just nothing interesting.
Well, except curling.
Curling is the gosh-darned jam, y’all. Especially this year.
The mixed-doubles team of siblings Matt and Becca Hamilton was reason enough to pay attention. For one, the pair competed in the first-ever mixed curling event in Olympic history. But after losses to Canada, Switzerland, Korea and China, the two were eliminated from playoff contention.
Don’t worry though. The men’s team, led by Matt Hamilton and his impeccable mustache, begins round-robin play Wednesday at 12:30 a.m EST, and the women start their match at 5 p.m. So we all have no excuse not to pad NBC’s ratings with some dedicated viewing of world-class rock-slidin’.
Curling is the ultimate spectator sport. You don’t have to know the terminology or the rules or the nuances. I mean, I certainly don’t.
In fact, I think that makes it way more fun to watch. When you have a premise as simple as, “Get your rock closer to the bullseye than the other guys,” you start to make your own rules in your head. You formulate your own strategies, your own ideas of where your team’s rocks should be. Heck, I googled it as I wrote this column, and apparently “rocks” is an acceptable term for the stones they roll.
So bust out the chips and dip around midnight. Invite your friends over. Tell them to forget about that midterm or that project. It’s Olympic curling season.
An earlier version of this column incorrectly stated women's figure skating and Team USA hockey would air Monday morning at 7.