One of my favorite movie scenes of all time is the opening of White Men Can't Jump. Most of the lines are not fit for family consumption but who cannot love, "Your mama's an astronaut!" And who has not appreciated a trip to Sizzler in their life?
When I was younger before my knees and ankles wore out, dislocated my finger, and my shoulder did not hurt every time I shoot I used to cruise as many basketball courts as I could. The trash talk was also immensely entertaining. It became tired when an argument about a foul went on for 10 minutes.
It is something you will never see at the Anchorage Curling Club (ACC). It is a place where there are no referees and it always works out without people's parentage being questioned.
I spent two years of my youth in Argentia, Newfoundland when my dad was in the US Navy. We had one Canadian TV station and curling was televised more than any other sport. St. John's is actually the home of the 2006 Olympic men's champions.
I always thought curling was something I might want to try but it is not exactly the first thing on your mind when you mostly grow up in Southern California. It was not until a few years ago when a friend asked me if I wanted to come give it a spin that it entered my mind again.
The first thing I noticed is that it is more than a game for Canadians who are too old to play hockey. All ages, sizes, and skills play the game.
I also realized that getting down to throw a stone and sweeping the ice was more of a physical activity than I thought. It may not be the NBA but it is not bowling either.
The next thing I noticed is that the atmosphere is way more relaxed than other sports. That is not to say there is not a little trash talk here and there but it is light hearted. The closest thing to the courts of South Boston I have heard was a Reggie Miller shooting analogy the other night.
The popularity of the game has been on the rise since it became an Olympic sport. People always perk up with interest when they find out you curl. People are always asking how they can get on the ice.
In Anchorage right now that is becoming a problem. Every year, people are being turned away as potential members because there is simply not enough ice time to accomodate them.
The ACC is in an old building in Government Hill. The roof leaks. There are only two playing surfaces. It is impossible to keep the ice at top playing conditions. At least that is what the guys who actually know the sport well tell me.
It is time for a new curling facility in Anchorage. This would an asset that would benefit the entire community.
A state of the art facility would allow for major Bon Spiels (tournaments) to be held in our city. Tournaments bring attention, money, and people to visit. It might even help put us on the map for future Olympic bids.
Jessica Schultz managed to make the Olympics and there is reason to believe other Anchorage youth could not follow in her footsteps. And why not add curling to the choices in high school athletics?
The people who want to curl now and are prevented because of space could become regular curlers. The sport could become another major recreational option for Anchorage.
At present, the current facility is only open in the winter. A larger more centralized facility could potentially be used all year round. It could be a place where tourists go to learn a game of the north.
The members of ACC are comitted to getting a new facility built. Members have been pledging money and want to start the process of finding a location and eventually building.
It is a private group but the facility would serve a public good. Members of the club already volunteer time to run seminars for the public and youth across Anchorage.
ACC is asking the state to help us out with some money to help the process. The hope is corporate money will help as well. If you want to help let ACC know.
Some people have the basketball courts and the trash talk. Some people crash the boards on the hockey rink. Some people ski the trails at Kincaid. There are public facilities all across Anchorage that people use all the time that are aided by private sources. And many of these things do attract outside interest.
It is time for Anchorage to add curling to the list. The payoff to the municipality and the state could be significant.
So lets start it like any good match and wish each other, "Good Curling!"