Last Friday I was on the phone with someone in Eugene, Oregon. When I mentioned I’m living in Ohio, she quickly paused and said "I think our football team is headed to your state this weekend." Sure enough, the University of Oregon Ducks were scheduled to play the Ohio State Buckeyes. I stopped following college football a few years back so this was how I first learned of a sporting match that much of my state had probably known about for months.
Admittedly I do miss the days when I would plop onto the couch for a Saturday and just flip from game to game, finding excitement from channel to channel, usually finishing exhausted, packed with fried foods, and trying to stay awake for the midnight game in Hawaii.
It’s not quite there yet, but curling is starting to lunch toward a reality where you can do the same thing. This past weekend, for example, had two prominently streamable ’spiels: the US Open in Blaine, Minnesota and the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard. The US Open was covered by the all-encompassing “Curling Stadium” package, where each game had its own live feed, sometimes including commentary. And the one in Oakville always had two games running, one with commentary. Not to mention the Saville Shootout in Edmonton. Or the mixed doubles in Saskatchewan. Or the mixed doubles in Switzerland. Or the Japanese women’s Olympic Trials (kind of).
For more on the origins of this kind of Japanese curling coverage, see this.
What I found myself doing on Sunday was pulling up a couple games from the US Open simultaneously, then enabling sound on one of the games. There was a second or so delay, but it honestly worked. I can see the potential. Long have I dreamed of being a useless zombie on fall weekends. I’ve been far too helpful these days.
There are still some things to work out. Curling Stadium ran into some bandwidth issues. And some of these eight-end games were pushing three hours long. To wit, the Colton Flasch-Mike McEwen game—a terrific match in its own right—took longer to finish than the women’s semifinal a couple sheets over (Ryerson University vs. Team Galusha), which went to an extra end.
But on the whole, the streams kept my attention at the expense of my son, who has yet to understand why Dad keeps usurping the largest screen in the household with this boring sport. Son, it’s because one day these streams are going to be so good, you’ll be hooked on this instead of college football. That’s the plan, at least.