Bringing chess on ice to New Jersey's better half
Let’s face it, we can’t just walk into our favorite local pub or sport bar and settle in for a pint or two while watching a few ends of curling – Or, put a bit differently, “this ain’t Canada, eh?” Yet somehow, whenever curling is being shown in a pub, it manages to capture the attention and all the smartest people at the bar.
Yeah, that’s right, the smartest ones... just sayin’!
So, here’s a little game that’ll solve several problems at once: (a) it’ll give smart people at bars something better to watch than [insert lame sport here] while they imbibe, (b) it’ll give us curlers another excuse to drink someplace other than our local curling club (where no excuses are necessary), (c) it’ll help to push curling towards critical mass in the US.
How you play Pub Curling:
Instead of drinking at home alone while you watch curling, go find a local pub or sports bar or restaurant with a TV, and watch there instead. Yes it’s that easy! From this point forward, in fact, every time you enter such an establishment that has public TVs, you will be playing an end... even if there is no curling currently be broadcast anywhere in your country at that moment... and even if you don't actively choose to play that end! If you don’t either see curling on their TV or make an effort fix that problem, then you blank the end. [boring!!!]
How to score points:
You gain 1 point for (a) finding that curling is already being shown when you walk in (for having the good sense to patronize such a fine establishment!), or (b) persuading the person who controls the remote to check the local listing.
You gain 2 point for getting curling turned on (when it wasn’t already being shown at all).
You gain 2 bonus points if the establishment has multiple TVs, and you personally persuading them to tune one of the biggest screens to an actual curling broadcast.
You gain 1 additional point for each stranger that you have any sort of curling discussion with (e.g., explaining a rule, telling them where to find curling in their area, getting them to acknowledge that they also wish that there was some curling to watch, etc.)
A game spans the time from when you wake up to start your day, and stops when you eventually go to bed regardless of how many ends you play that day.
Your win/loss record for the day is sort of like a round-robin against anybody else who you happen to compare your scores with for that day.
The spirit of the game:
Call your own fouls, and avoid calling fouls on others.
If you’re claiming points for affecting the channel selections, then have the courtesy to stay and watch for a while.
If food or beverages are sold, it’s poor form to claim point for channel selection without at least staying for a drink or something.
Avoid aggravating others -- the idea it to spread the joy of curling, not to shove it down anybody’s throat. *
Never claim more than 8 points per end... after all, that would make absolutely no sense!
Keeping track of your score in your head is fine, but if you choose to write it down then use a convoluted scorekeeping system that's sure to confuse non-curlers. **
Always tip fairly, or even generously... after all, you're representing the sport.
And last, but certainly not least... if you discover a bagpiper in the house, promptly raise a toast to the piper!
* For example, asking the bartender to interrupt the Stanley cup final to check the local listings would be consider very poor sportsmanship!
** If you happen to find a source for tiny little counter-intuitive magnetic scoreboards where you hang numbers for ends instead points, please let us know! (especially if it comes with a convenient clip for attaching it to the handle of a mug).