02/13/2014 12:17 EST | Updated 04/15/2014 05:59 EDT

How This Obscure Sport Roared Into the Olympics -- And Our Hearts

For all of the exciting ice sports available to the cold arena addict, it's a wonder how the obscure sport of curling edged its way into popularity. Or is it? Curling is experiencing a rebirth; the reputation of the sport soared after the 2010 Olympic Games, where arenas overflowed, rivalries peaked, and fans were bewitched by the outrageous uniform pants of some of the Olympic athletes. If you are watching curling in four year intervals, you are witnessing the best of this fashion phenomenon, led primarily by Team Norway.

Crazy Curling Pants

At the 2010 Winter Games, the Norwegians became famous for the outlandish patterns on their pants, sparking a new trend of curling wear as a fashion item, and it didn't hurt their standings in competition either as they slid away with the men's silver medal. In Sochi, a fabric feud has emerged between the host Russians and the voguish Norwegians. The latter planning to unveil a bevy of new looks during the round robin tournament, chose classic golf pants gone wild, paired with football socks and a cap for their match against the home team. The ensemble was made only a touch less sensational by the intensely mesmerizing pants of their opponents. You can check out the curling catwalk on the Facebook page dedicated to the sensational slacks at:

Spectator Screech

It's not all stitch strategy, though and if you think the pants are loud... you should hear the fans. The sport is known as, "The Roaring Game," named for the sound that the granite stone makes as it slips across the ice, but the crowd is known for its raucous roars as well. With the Olympic popularity, and the increased viewership of international events, curling clubs have seen a boost in membership and the excitement around the event is palpable. The spectator screech is well known, but the shouting is also a tool used by the athletes.

Curling Battle Cry

Now, let's be clear -- we are not talking mere encouraging chants, or lively calls. For the athletes, the shouting is an all-out, intense, battle cry of exchanges that echo around the arena. At least one imagines it echoes, but cannot be sure as the cheering crowd often drowns out the play with their own fervor. As the stones are thrown down the sheet of ice, most of the yelling is done by the skip. The howls, shrieks, squeals and wails that come from the players are in fact words! They translate into commands and important cues to the sweepers who provide an equal amount of bizarre entertainment, as they lean over their brooms and frantically warm the ice below, sending the stones down to the end where they hope to score points.

Anchorman's Curling Antics

The electrifying aspects of the event have people hooked, and it is safe to say that curling has officially dusted off its reputation of being a slow paced, mundane sport for retirees. If the flashy pants, screwball screaming and eclectic fan base hasn't drawn you in, then perhaps an endorsement by the distinguished Ron Burgundy will convince you. Take a look at the Anchorman's debut at the Roar of the Rings tournament in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It might just inspire you to brush off your cowbell and hurry hard to your viewing post on the couch or the local pub to catch some of the Olympic curling in action before it's too late.


Olympic Curling: Feb. 10