Personnal views

An Observation from a “child of the sixties”

      Lately I have been streaming “online” the Women’s World Curling Championship tournament from St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. This is a sport that gets brief coverage during the winter Olympics every 4 years. It is probably not even considered a sport by most of the population of the United States.

      During the “live stream” there is a chat window that rolls along side the viewing screen. I have noticed many of the same chat names appear during the different games. They sounded like a group of people who knew each other well and were comfortable in their conversation. It was interesting to read or overhear what they had to say and I was learning more about Curling at the same time. I became interested enough that I decided to add a comment, but didn’t want to appear forward and just jump into someone else’s conversation. Do you introduce yourself or do you just jump in? Is there a chat room etiquette that needs to be adhered to? Probably a stupid question to someone who is more accustom to the web.

      I decided to “jump in” with a comment of information that I had heard from the Olympics. The subject was Great Britain and Eve Muirhead not being at the championship. For those that don’t know, Eve Muirhead is leader or skip of the British ladies Olympic curling team. Ms Muirhead is Scottish, in fact all the British curlers were Scottish. That’s another story.  My comment was “there is only one Curling Club in the UK”.  It didn’t take long before one of the regulars answered, “Byron, there are plenty of Curling Clubs in the UK only one in England”. My first time out and I screwed it up! Promptly, I wrote back, “Sorry, I really meant to say England, what do you expect I’m American.” I heard back shortly that it was OK “we don’t make it easy UK, Great Britain, England”. I was relieved and seemed to be accepted into the chat format.

      I don’t converse constantly but I have been able to add my thoughts and be included into “the group”. What is amazing to me is that these people who I am now “chatting” with are located all over the world. While I’m watching in the afternoon or early evening some of these people were getting into the wee hours of morning and hoping for an end so they could go to bed, because they needed to go to work in the morning. I was talking to people from Canada, Scotland, Brazil, and the United States. ALL OVER THE WORLD! In the vernacular of the 60’s “This really blew my mind”, and still does even while I think about it and type these words. I’ve been talking to people from around the globe just like they were sitting in the same room. This was a true global society all looking for good curling.

      Although not a perfect format, most were there to watch top-level curling and root for their national or favorite team. Not everyone, however, wanted to just watch and chat about curling. There are always the few that will use the open format for their personal vendetta against a certain region or people. Those that just want to see what shock value they can obtain from taunts and slurs. Not just nationalistic slurs but just base slurs against the women athletes in general. Some taunts and some just plain crude remarks that became even more crude when asked to refrain or leave. I don’t think any of the remarks were due to a nationalistic pride but more just to see what someone could get away with in an uncensored environment. Sure world affairs were brought up as the reasons for the taunts but it was evident that these taunters and slanderers were defiantly not geo-political experts. With a positive there is always a negative.

      What really brought me to put thought down was the “mind blowing” experience of watching an event with people from all over the world. Last night at the beginning of the finals people began to sign on with their locations from which they were watching. Here are some of the localities represented last night, not in any order but from my memory.

    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Geneva, Switzerland – Scotland – Washington State, US – Brasilia, Brazil    –   Sweden – Korea – Great Britain

     I know there were others that I left out, but so many I just can’t remember now and wish I could go back to see.

      It was an amazing experience. I am excited and ready for the Men’s World Curling Championship to begin the 28th of March in Beijing, China.

      Just a note Beijing time is 12 hours ahead of my home, so it will be me in the wee hours of the morning watching this time.

For now, from Michigan, USA, good curling.

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