I'll forgive you if you haven't thought much about curling recently, but that's gotta change, because there is some major curling news hitting the airwaves today. The Washington Post writes of a curling scandal rocking the (very polite) curling community. It's about brooms.
For all of curling history, the Post reports, curlers have used a "smooth fabric head" on their broom. But now there's a devious new technology afoot: rough fabric heads. It's taking all the skill out of the sport, curlers say, and so they're protesting the World Curling Federation to reject the new technology.
Brawniness applies when it’s time to sweep, which, when done well, can help maneuver or curl the stone around another to put it into position. The new technology, however, is negating all of the above, curlers say, by de-emphasizing the need to aim the stone accurately. The new broom head makes it easier for curlers, regardless of their fitness level, to sweep a path in the ice that could correct a bad throw.
Fittingly, 40 of the most elite (polite) curling teams in the world—on both the men's and women's side—are linking brooms together in a "gentleman's agreement" to not use the new technology.
I know what you're thinking: isn't one evil curler just going to go rogue and screw up the whole gentleman's agreement? Apparently, that's not much of a concern.
“One of the most beautiful parts of our sport is we are a non-interference team sport. We are genuinely respectful of our opposition and their skills and abilities,” WCF Athlete Commission chairwoman Ann Swisshelm said. “We begin our games with a handshake and genuine well wish and we close them that way. Our athletes, if they feel that a gentlemen’s agreement is necessary, regarding anything, I think that probably comes very naturally to the majority of us in the sport.”
2018 can't come soon enough.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.