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TODAY'S QUESTION: What is it about curling that Americans find so fascinating?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | 12:28 p.m. CST; updated 3:20 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 24, 2010

If you haven’t seen curling at least once on TV during these Olympics, you’re living under a rock.

The sport, which involves gliding a 42-pound “rock” down a roughly 150-foot sheet of ice toward a target of concentric circles – and furiously sweeping a smoother path there with special brooms, was already a Canadian favorite.

But it seems to be winning over Americans, too.

Curling earned the highest ratings of any Olympics sport on U.S. television cable last week. Internet searches for curling are up more than 3,600 percent.

Curling centers around the country are holding open houses that are attracting hundreds and leaving people waiting in line for a lesson, according to USA Today.

At the Kansas City Curling Club, you can pay $15 to learn the basic techniques needed for the sport. The club is offering nine “Learn to Curl” sessions between Feb. 27 and April 3, and all but one are full.

And the sport has been featured all over the Internet and in the media. Homer, Bart and Co. played the game during a recent episode of “The Simpsons.” A number of columnists have written features expressing their intrigue for curling, including ESPN’s Rick Reilly, who fell flat on his back trying to curl himself.

All this with the U.S. men’s and women’s teams now headed home after both finished last. The American men did take the bronze medal in 2006 at the games in Torino, but it’s not like there’s a grand Miracle on Ice-like competitive movement to dethrone the curling-crazed Canadians – whose men won gold in 2006 and are undefeated and heavily favored in Vancouver.

It takes a lot for Americans to pay attention to a game they aren’t good at themselves. Clearly, curling's got something special going on.

So what is it about curling that Americans find so fascinating? Have you been drawn in by curling during the Olympics? Could the sport catch on in the U.S.?


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