Thursday, February 18, 2010

Suddenly I Have an Interest In the Olympics

I spent a good part of yesterday morning trying to get set up to stream the Olympics on my computer. NBC only televises the events that involve the US teams, but there are tons of other events happening simultaneously. NBC streams all events on its site in real-time. As long as you are a cable subscriber you can watch. I had some problems logging in, but after a call to customer service I was at last able to watch sports on my computer.

That's right, I said sports.

What's wrong with me, you might ask, and deservedly so, for I have taken a life-long anti-sports stance. I do not watch the Super Bowl. I don't care about baseball or soccer. I have no interest in skiing or snowboarding. Whether spectating or participating, sports are boring.

So when my mom saw me watching the Olympics on my computer yesterday, she remarked, not surprisingly, "Why are you watching the Olympics?"

Why, indeed.

This is the Japanese women's curling team, Team Aomori. And unlike some Japanese athletes who are getting a lot of heat for their appearance, Team Aomori is beloved at home precisely because they're so photogenic. And, as a certified menkui, I figured it was my duty to watch as well. (It's the same reason I watched ping-pong in the 2008 summer Olympics. Hey, consistency counts for something, right?)

Curling itself is lot like shuffle board played on a giant deck of ice with 42-pound granite pucks, called stones. One person lauches the puck, pushing it down the line and trying to get it onto target-like markings at the end of the ice. I'm actually still kind of fuzzy about the particulars but it is interesting to watch. I find the push-off stance particularly graceful, and the frenzied sweeping of the ice that others do to alter the course and speed of the stone is kind of cool. But really, for me, it's all about this:

This is Mari Motohashi, the Second on the team (whatever that means). The picture to the left is from a calendar, which tells you how popular she is in Japan. Check out her blog.

This is Anna Ohmiya. She's the Third. Here's her blog.

There are three others on the team as well, Moe Meguro (the Skip), Kotomi Ishikzaki (the Lead), and Mayo Yamaura (the Fifth), who I'm sure are all stellar athletes but for our purposes links to their blogs will suffice.

If you're as lonely and obsessed enthusiastic as I am about Japanese women's curling, go to the NBC Olympics site and set up alerts so you won't miss any games.


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