Why The Sport Of Curling Is One You Need To Be Watching

It has come to my attention that the sport of curling is extremely underappreciated. The Winter Olympics are in full swing and since its start this year I have talked to multiple people who all expressed something along the lines of Curling? Lame. No, you know what’s lame? Sleeping on this amazing sport.

Dos Equos meme curling version

I played curling for many years growing up. My dad’s side of the family is really into curling, so I started in grade three and played until grade seven or eight. In the neighboring city, there’s a trophy with my name on it, the highlight of my career. I stopped playing for two reasons. One, I wasn’t in love with the sport, and two, I got too old for the fun and organized kids program and the next level program was kind of a mess. But I still liked the sport, and when a team formed in my senior year of high school, I jumped at the chance to join. Anyway, if you couldn’t tell, I’m Canadian. But the sport isn’t unique to Canada; we’re just good at it. It actually originated in Scotland.

Though you don’t need to have a history or location like mine to enjoy the sport too. Sure, it helps a little (my roommate from Saudi Arabia was very surprised to learn that they don’t play on skates), but curling is one of the few Olympic sports that’s very easy to understand just from watching.

First of all, the concept is simple: get as many of your team’s rocks as close to the center of the target as possible by throwing them down the ice. That’s it. Unlike figure skating or skiing, there’s no need for judges or complicated scoring systems because what you see is what you get. The sweeping reduces friction to help the rock move and the iconic yelling to the sweepers of “HARD! HARD! YUP! WOAH! OFF! YUP! YUP” is for dramatics, really. The sport is called curling because the rocks spin and curl along the ice as they travel, and controlling that is the key to making good shots. There are four players per team and they all shoot two rocks, taking turns. Of course, there are several other little rules and terms, but you don’t need them to enjoy watching, and if you’re ever curious, Google is there for you.

the good stuff gif

The great thing about watching curling is that it allows for thinking. You’re not mindless watching, you’re thinking and critiquing and evaluating. When watching luge or skeleton, all you’re doing is watching them slide. You as a viewer can’t really discern skill or tactics. And in sports like hockey or slalom skiing, the sport usually goes too fast to really think about what could have or should have happened. And in sports like figure skating, often it can be hard to tell what’s good from what’s great. So many times I’ll say “oh, that routine was great, they got top three for sure” to then have the skater get in sixth or something. But curling? Curling is slow enough for you to look at the moves and the players’ skills and decide what’s a good call and what’s a doable shot as the players decide too. And though it’s slow enough to do this, the game does move quickly and rarely drags on, making it a perfect mix of excitement. This is why it’s one of the best sports to watch.

Plus, it’s cool! (And that is not an ice joke!). Seeing these players with incredible accuracy make these incredible shots is so amazing. They make it look so easy and effortless and majestic, but let me tell you as someone who’s played, the players in the Olympics, like in any sport, are ridiculously talented. Sometimes the house (the target) will be so cluttered and congested, and then in comes one rock to perfectly clean out one colour with the most jaw-dropping of angles.

good curling shot
I mean LOOK AT THIS! AMAZING.

If you haven’t watched a curling match this Olympics, be sure to catch one before it ends because it really is a unique and interesting sport, and it definitely needs more love.

And if you can, consider trying the sport for real! There are curling clubs all over, so look one up if you’re looking for a new hobby. Here are a few reasons why curling is a great sport to play:

  • It’s great for all ages. As I said, I started at age seven or eight and my grandparents played it well into their eighties.
  • It’s not too hard at all. Throwing and sliding takes a bit of practice, but it’s fairly easy to pick up.
  • It’s fun!
  • You can play even in a wheelchair or without bending down by using a tool to push the rock, similar to shuffleboard.
  • You don’t need to be in peak physical condition. Sure, the professionals do some gym training, but it’s not necessary for casual play.
  • The sound of the rocks hitting each other is really nice. I don’t know why I love it so much.
  • It’s really fun to do the yelling.

I hope I’ve managed to convince all you haters that curling rocks (pun intended) and to give it a try, at least on TV, and I hope that if you didn’t know anything about the sport, you now know a little. The sport is now an Olympic staple, and the addition of Mixed Doubles in these 2018 Games prove that this sport is adapting and gaining popularity for sure. Get with it.

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Life Update: This Last Semester Is Testing Me

One thing I wanted to do more of this year is ramble-y update-type posts. I mean, I love ranting on a certain topic and coming up with new ideas to present to you, but sometimes I feel like it’s a huge responsibility to come up with usable and original(ish) topics all the time. I don’t want to force them and I also don’t want my blog to just be opinion piece after piece. I want you guys to know what’s going on in my life, even if I’m not exactly living an exciting one.

happy shrug gif

As I mentioned in my last Monthly Look Ahead, my February is pretty chill in terms of school. It’s March that’s looking awful. March is always like that, but this year seems particularly ugly. Every week I’ll have at least one major assignment due, with a few weeks demanding two or three or four. Goodbye weekends. I have a big erasable calendar hanging up and just looking at the colour-coded dates tires me. The thing is, I have pretty good time management skills and am usually pretty good at working in advance and making the most of days off so I’m not doing things last minute, but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like I have a lot of options for that. A few classes are involving group assignments, so I have to mind group members, and some assignments don’t have outlines available yet, so it’d be largely ineffective for me to start too early. So I’ve spent the past few weekends doing minimal work because I have nothing pressing, but feeling like I should be a thousand time more productive to ease my March stress. Anyway, as one of my friends said, no matter how bad the semester gets, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is Avengers: Infinity War.

Doctor saying "they're making us fight to survive"

I’m also in the bookmaking course that I came to this school for. I had heard rumours that it was wildly intense and the prof is a pretty intense dude, but so far, the work has been minimal too, and that’s stressing me out because I feel like I’m somehow unknowingly setting myself up for failure in March. I know I’ll have a lot to do with typesetting the final draft of my novel and preparing that, but even that doesn’t seem to warrant the prof’s suggestion that we don’t go home for reading week.

Typesetting a book is weird, especially when it’s your own. All of the sudden I have to make decisions that I never thought I’d be making. Do I want page numbers in the middle of the page or in the corner? Do I need a table of contents? Is 13.5 point leading enough? The other day I went to a public library and measured book dimensions. I like the control, but it’s a lot of pressure, especially since this book will be available for purchase eventually! We’ll be having a fancy book launch and people from outside the class will be there. I’m the only one in my class doing fiction, so that’s even weirder for me. But I’m excited and I can’t wait to share it with y’all.

The last thing going on in my life is the fact that I need to start applying for jobs soon. And not just summer jobs, career jobs. I’ve already gotten 100 lectures from my parents about it, and I’m sure reading week will bring me 100 more. They’re on me to apply early and apply for everything, even if I don’t have an interest in it. In past years, I’ve started applying daily around this time, but every year I was still jobless in June. I doubt things will change this year. Despite what my father thinks, employers mostly don’t hire four months in the future and at my school, there aren’t recruiters either. Are any of you recent grads? How close to graduation did you start applying and when did you get hired? And are any of you communications/media/marketing/PR grads?

Rachel Green wanting a job

So that’s what’s going on with me and my life. Just a lot of complaining, eh? But I do like being able to vent into the Internet void, so thanks for reading!

P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤

 

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What Makes A Good Remake (Or Adaptation)?

In this age of remakes and reboots, it’s kind of interesting to see which ones fail and succeed and why. If they all failed, then I’d think Hollywood would let up on them, but we’re several years into this trend, and it shows no signs of stopping, so something must be going right.

I used to think it was just that a lot of these reboots and remakes invoked a sense of nostalgia in viewers, and while I think that’s still true, I’m now also seeing all these remakes and reboots and adaptations as a chance to improve on the content. At least I hope that’s what these creators are trying to do. I think it’s the key.

DJ Khalid saying "major key"

Take Legally Blonde, for example. Yes, the movie was amazing and iconic and unmatched, but the musical is really great too, and I think it’s for two reasons. One, amazing music, a key element of any musical. Two, they built up Emmett’s character so he had more of a role and therefore the relationship between him and Elle was “so much better” (hehe). They made the material stronger by going out of their way to improve on the characters. In the same way that just making a remake live-action doesn’t immediately make it better (eg. Cinderella in 2015) simply adding music isn’t always enough. Take the Elf musical. That was another amazing and iconic movie but nothing was changed in the musical, so I found it kind of boring. Sure some adaptations can thrive with little to no changes (the Waitress musical, for example) but personally, I find myself really looking for improvements when I consume remakes/reboots.

Right now, the remake of Jumanji is in theaters and making a killing at the BO. What was changed in this version? New characters are sucked into a video game rather than a board game. I personally haven’t seen this new version, but I like this idea as it’s more modern and understandable, and clearly this concept and the production value seems to be good enough. Another example of a significant and overall accepted improvement is The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Taking Elizabeth Bennet’s story and opinions and presenting them through the personal vlog format is genius and modern. Pemberley Digital, for all their flaws, was on to something wonderful. Spider-Man: Homecoming and Fargo are other examples of remakes that succeeded because they took what was great about the original and improved upon them. They aren’t just straight  regurgitations of old stuff.

But then there’s the new Heathers TV show coming this spring, and it seems doomed. The Heathers movie isn’t a favourite of mine, nor is the musical (though the musical did have some dope songs and a slight added level of humour!), but as the internet is pointing out, putting minority characters in things doesn’t always improve it, especially not when it goes against the point of the story. There’ll apparently be a minority spin on the upcoming Party Of Five remake too, so we’ll have to see if that’ll fare better. At least that one makes sense. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that the improvements and changes have to make sense and work with the material. Is something is better than nothing? Not always. Usually, but not always.

The Heathers casts from 2018 and the original movie

As more and more remakes and reboots and adaptations are announced (daily, it seems), I just hope that society eventually stops just accepting whatever is thrown at us. There’s an American Idol reboot coming to ABC this spring and I’m really hoping it’ll bring something new to the table that the Fox version did not. I’m hoping that the upcoming Mary Poppins movie surprises us. I’m hoping that if Hollywood is insisting on giving us all these reboots and remakes and adaptations that they’re done well and they use the chance to really entertain us.

What are your thoughts on the subject? What’s one remake/adaptation that you enjoyed or hated?

 

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Monthly Look Ahead: February 2018

February! Do you guys have to pronounce it in your head like ‘feb-ru-ary’ when writing it down? Because I do. Same with wed-nes-day, which today coincidentally is!

In terms of school, this month seems kind of mild, so I’m looking forward to that, the calm before the mess of March. And in terms of fun stuff, there’s a lot going on this month, so let’s break it down:

monthly look ahead logo

  • The Quidditch team is having a trivia night and a movie night.
  • My last reading week. I can’t wait to go home (where my parents can harass me in person about applying to jobs) and see friends.
  • Black Panther is coming out on the 16th. It looks cool so far, and I like that we’ve already met T’Challa.
    black panther poster
  • Legends Of Tomorrow is finally coming back for the second half of season 3 on the 16th. While I’m a little sad it’ll be taking Supergirl‘s timeslot, I adore the show and just want it back.
  • Season 3 of UnREAL finally begins on the 26th. It was delayed from the summer, and while I’m not super excited for it in general, I can appreciate the dramatics of the show.
  • The Olympics are this month, and though I’m not too into sports, I like watching curling and figure skating and also telling people from other countries that Canada is the best (related: this post of 150 reasons why I love Canada).
  • Tim Hortons’ Roll Up The Rim starts this month. It’s still pretty cold here, so I can justify the increase in my hot chocolate intake.

So that’s what my February looks like. Y’all got Valentines? If I can find enough good Tumblr Valentines, I may continue my tradition of sending them to friends, but people aren’t making them as much anymore. Anyway, feel free to make your own MLA post and tell me what you’re excited for this month!

 

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Happy Birthday, Ellen DeGeneres

Today, January 26th, is Ellen DeGeneres’ 60th birthday, and I thought I’d dedicate a post to her, even if she’ll never read it, because she deserves it and I adore her. Happy Birthday!

ellen birthday image

I watched a lot of The Ellen Show in high school. I’d come home, grab a snack, and destress from school with her. If I had the time, I’d still watch the show regularly, but once in a while I’ll tune in, especially when I go home to my parents’ and usually have ample time to watch TV. I wish I had more hours in the day so I can consume all the content she’s a part of (including her spin-off shows like Game Of Games). I do miss having her as a part of my daily life.

Her talk show is always so fun and funny and enjoyable (related: this post on feel-good TV shows). Ellen is always so nice to everyone and always so happy to be there. Watching her show is always a good time because it’s so positive. I need more of that kind of positivity in my life. She should also write another book. Seriously…I’m Kidding is one of my favourites.

Ellen saying "haters are my motivators"

Furthermore, Ellen herself just seems so genuine and kind. There are so many celebrities and or talk show hosts I love who have, at one point or another, rubbed me the wrong way or came off a little weird, but Ellen never has. It’s refreshing and appreciated, and that’s why people love her so much. Even when she’s talking about something serious or sad, she does so with the utmost respect and kindness.

She’s also changed so many lives. Through her partners on her show, she’s given away millions of dollars and helped so many, and that’s so amazing. She’s also obviously a huge advocate for LGBTQ rights, and when she is speaking up about a cause or movement, it’s never preachy or aggressive. She uses her power and influence so well.

As a TV lover and a fan of quality entertainment, I am very grateful for all Ellen has done. I may not have time to watch it all but I do appreciate how consistently fun and feel-good it all is, from her show or books down to her tweets. I think she also has a Netflix standup special coming eventually, and I can’t wait for that. I just know it’s going to be great.

I hope Ellen is having a great birthday, and I hope everyone reading this takes a second to appreciate and send good vibes into the universe that’ll help keep her around for many more years and Emmy awards to come. The world will always need Ellen.

Ellen and Kate McKinnon dancing
Two Ellens are better than one

I’ll end this post as Ellen ends her talk show: Be kind to one another.

P.S. I’m pretty sure my constant use of the word “y’all” came from watching Ellen.

P.P.S. I don’t remember how we got to talking about this, but several months ago I told half the Quidditch team that if Ellen Degeneres wanted to murder me, I’d let her. I stand by this.

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