Curling boom expected in media over next fortnight

The media has today begun its two-week process of giving disproportionate weight to the winter sport of curling, with many reporters deciding to “give it a go” for themselves.

Many news outlets are big fans of the ancient Scottish game, often giving large amounts of coverage to the minority pastime – and this year promises even more airtime than 2006.

BBC Breakfast’s Chris Hollins, himself a 4-yearly player, reveals: “I love pretending to get down on the ice and give it a crack, especially during the Winter Olympics. It’s such good fun and literally anyone can play it. It’s a lot like 10-pin bowling, except it’s on ice and there are no skittles – other than that it’s fairly similar, apart from the shape of the ball of course! I don’t want to blow my own trumpet or anything, but I think I’ve got a bit better since last time I had a go – I scored 3 hits today, whereas last quad-annual I only got a double.”

Another pretend-curling-liker is GMTV’s Ben Shepherd, who scored an impressive 4 bullseyes back in 2006: “For me, there’s nothing better than getting indoors and ‘hitting the sheet’, so to speak. Honestly, you can’t beat the sound of the puck as it slides towards the target and thuds into the opponent’s ball – it’s fantastic. It’s a bit like ice hockey, but with a bigger ball and far less violent! The best thing is that practically everyone can turn their hand to it – it’s not too tough a sport like tennis or football, and I’ve yet to land a slab outside of the circle.”

Presenter Jamie Theakston offers a further interesting insight into the much-loved game: “It’s like carpet bowls, only on ice. Plus you don’t have to contend with the difficulty of judging the curve of the stone’s path as you have to in bowling. Apparently it was developed in Holland, of all places, would you believe? The Dutch originally used to slide Edams along a frozen lake and it all kind of came about from there. Am I any good at curling? Well, I’m probably not as good as Zoe Ball, but yesterday I hit three ‘zones’, so I’m not doing too badly.”

Zoe Ball concurs: “Jamie and I are very competitive and I usually beat him at curling, which he hates. I don’t slide the discus thing like he does as it tends to make my knees go a bit cold. I prefer to do the bit with the scrubbing brush as it’s really good fun, plus it keeps you warm, too. I like to imagine I’m doing a bit of hoovering or sweeping up the path – only on ice skates! I love that it’s so accessible and that you can come back to it every 4 years and still do reasonably well each time. This morning, for instance, I scored 30 points, which was really cool…”

The Winter Olympics are due to start in the next few days.


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