The Random Yak

Men’s Curling: Bringin’ Funky (Pants) Back.

Filed under: Olympic Yaks — Random Yak @ 12:24 pm on February 17, 2010

No Winter Olympics coverage would be complete without at least one story on curling.

I admit my Olympics coverage to date has been somewhat lacking, though not without reason.  The tragic death of the Georgian luger on the day of the Opening Ceremonies pretty much put the finish on the four entries I had planned about the Antarctic Federation protests of the luge event – somehow, they didn’t seem appropriate.  Some things deserve respect, and a series of borderline-inappropriate (but admittedly rather amusing) posts about naked luge just didn’t work for me any more.  My plans to liveblog the opening ceremonies ran into a scheduling conflict, and although I’ve watched my share of the competition – and enjoyed most of it – there really hasn’t been much to snark about.  (Men’s figure skating aside, and quite frankly those jokes write themselves.)

Besides, I thought…I still have curling.  And if I can’t find something entertaining to say about the winter version of Olympic lawn bowling, I might as well hang up my keyboard.

So I watched, and I waited.

I thought I had the story last night, when Bob Costas actually managed to describe curling as “One of the most popular Olympic sports” without even cracking a smile.  To the extent he ever sounds sincere, he even seemed to mean it.  (As an aside, this comment met with literal howls of laughter in my living room.  Who says Bob Costas isn’t funny?)

But this morning I learned about something even better.  Or worse.

It appears one of the Olympic curling teams is engaging in some very unsportsmanlike conduct.  Unsportsmanlike even for curling, which everyone knows is a bastion of ill-concealed rivalry filled with showboating prima-donnas who will do just about anything to get the attention of the media.  It’s true.  Beneath that silent, broom-wielding facade, curlers crave the spotlight.  I’ve said for years that they’re a dangerous bunch.  And now I have proof.

Not content with defeating their opponents by traditional means, the Norwegian men’s curling team has resorted to dastardly gamesmanship.  Specifically, they’re trying to blind their opponents with their pants.  Now I admit, I could have misunderstood the purpose of the colorful couture.  The idea might have been to cripple opposing teams with laughter, rendering them incapable of brushing the ice or aiming the stone.  Or they might be going for the pity vote.  (Hey guys, let’s let them win.  After all, they’ve already lost their self-respect.)

Then again, the whole thing might just be a tragic mistake.  Perhaps someone accidentally swapped the curling team uniforms with a box intended for Ringling Brothers.  (Which also means that somewhere there’s a group of clowns without any pants on.)

Either way, the Norwegian men are appearing in public wearing checkered pants.  Red, White, Blue and Grey checkered pants. I’ve always said Norse people are brave, but this takes it to astonishing heights.  They still better win a medal, though.  Because if they don’t, I suspect the other teams will catch them in the locker room and steal their lunch money.  That’s what happens to the funny-looking kids.

On the positive side, I doubt anyone will steal their pants.

Tip of the horns, John Scalzi (at Whatever) for searing my eyeballs enough to get me to post.

Breaking News: Antarctic Federation Seeks Permission to Compete in Vancouver

Filed under: Olympic Yaks — Random Yak @ 5:51 pm on January 12, 2010

Lest any of you have forgotten – the Winter Olympics begin one month from today.  But it appears the controversy has already begun.

The Random Yak has heard reports that representatives from the Antarctic Federation have once again made a plea to the IOC to recognize the indigenous athletes from the Sovereign Nation of Antarctica Pygoscelis and to permit them entry into both their national sport (the IOC calls it luge) and, surprisingly, the ski jump.

Although four years older, Adelie P. seems no less fit, and claims himself no less qualified, to compete in the luge than he was at the previous games.  This year he is joined by his younger cousin, currently identified only as R.H., who hopes to compete in the ski jumping and moguls competitions.

Some of you may recall the controversy that arose prior to the opening of the Torino games, when representatives of the IOC refused to acknowledge the Antarctic Federation’s request for admission and permission for the Pygoscelisian athletes to compete in the games.  Although no official transcript of the proceedings was ever released, rumors from sources close to the IOC claimed the use of such discriminatory terms as “vertically-challenged,” and “flightless” to describe the Antarctic contingent.  Sources also claim that the real reason the IOC refused to place the Federation on the list of approved entrants was that the athletes had announced their intention to compete in the nude.

“The Olympics are a family-oriented competition, emphasizing sportsmanship and fair play,” reports a former member of the Antarctic Federation team, “I guess some closed-minded individuals just don’t think naked luge has a place there.”

When asked whether he thought his lack of appropriate attire prevented him from competing at Torino, Adelie reportedly replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I intended to compete in evening wear.”

The mainstream media seems to be ignoring the issue – probably due to the fact that neither the United States government nor the Canadians currently recognize the Pygoscelisian claim to the southernmost continent.  That claim, founded on indigenous habitation (and better known under International Law as the “we got here first, neener neener” rule) has only recently taken on a serious character, and Pygoscelisian representatives hope that recognition from the International Olympic Committee will add credibility to their claims for the international recognition of an independent Antarctic Federation.  Unfortunately, as of the time this blog entry went to press, most world governments still think the idea of a Pygoscelisian nation is for the birds.

We at The Random Yak proudly recognize the Antarctic Federation, and openly support Adelie’s request to compete in the Vancouver games.  We’ll be following this story carefully in weeks to come, and keep our readers informed of the Federation’s progress with the IOC.

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