Tom Sorensen

If your dream, like mine, is Olympic curling, you can start here in North Carolina.

The beauty of curling and every other Olympic sport is that for most of the athletes, this is the pinnacle. Above, Sweden's skip Niklas Edin pushes the stone during Wednesday’s men's curling match against South Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The beauty of curling and every other Olympic sport is that for most of the athletes, this is the pinnacle. Above, Sweden's skip Niklas Edin pushes the stone during Wednesday’s men's curling match against South Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympics. AP

The Winter Olympics are like background music. They provide a nice beat. Sometimes you get caught up in them, sometimes you don’t. But they’re always an option.

The speed skating, some of the skiing events, hockey and luge are entertaining. And people with the guts to fly upside down, separated from a hard crash only by a thin board, have my interest and respect. But the sport I always watch is curling.

I see skiers and skaters and snowboarders and think, “I can’t do that.” I see curlers and think, “I can do that, although, OK, I’m aging out of my prime U.S. Olympic curling years.” I can’t remember if I was good at shuffleboard. But I was a good slo-pitch softball pitcher. I can move chess pieces and those things you throw in cornhole. So why can’t I excel at curling?

The Charlotte Curling Association probably can provide a variety of reasons. The club was started during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. It’s on 6525 Old Statesville Rd. They have a variety of events going on during the Olympics, a bar and on occasion, a food truck. For more information, go to https://charlottecurling.com/.

They’re friendly, the Charlotte curlers. They want to show you their sport. Some sports are by nature friendly. Even at the Olympics, you never see curlers fight. There is no penalty box.

I’ve never made it to a Charlotte curling event, perhaps because I don’t want my Olympic dreams crushed. I still remember when I realized I would never play shortstop for the Minnesota Twins, tailback for the Minnesota Vikings or point guard for the Minnesota Gophers. I’m hanging onto curling.

The beauty of curling and every other Olympic sport is that for most of the athletes, this is the pinnacle. This is an opportunity to step, ski, skate or snowboard out of the shadows and into prime time. And when they win, it’s for them, their team, their country and their sport, and you can’t help but smile as they celebrate.

So, yeah, my goal is the Beijing Olympics in 2022. But I’ll need to get to Old Statesville Road before then.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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