Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Curling Pants - the New Fashion Statement

Talk about lucky. When we found out that Merlot Boy would be joining us, I e-mailed some friends to see if anyone had some extra Games tickets that we might be able to score so that Merlot Boy wouldn't have to watch all of his sports in front of the TV. Tyrant not only had a spare ticket but he had three extras to one of the curling rounds. He offered them up to MB, Daveyboi and myself and we jumped at the chance - even if it meant that we had to get up and be on the road for a 9 am Saturday start at the venue.

Believe it or not, curling is not a big sport down under. Merlot Boy knew as much about it as I know about cricket - which is virtually nothing. However, he had already been made aware of the fancy pants that the Norwegian team was sporting at the Games. Add that to the fact that Merlot Boy found the Norwegian skip, Thomas Ulsrud, to be about as hot as the curling ice would allow before melting away, and you had a ready made curling fan.

Much to Merlot Boy's unabashed glee, our seats were directly behind one end of the sheet that the Norwegians were playing on. The Canadian team wasn't playing in this round, but the seats couldn't have been better in Merlot Boy's mind.

One thing that has become apparent during the Games is that the curling crowds may never be the same again. It's probably fair to say that most of the ticket holders were about as knowledgable as Merlot Boy was. I think I can fairly state that the standard etiquette of curling fans was out the door with all the cheering and national fervour that was evident. I don't think the athletes have ever run up against such fan-demonium before - and Canada wasn't even playing. I do know, however, that Merlot Boy was thrilled with the Norwegians' win and he immediately wanted to run out and try to find a pair of those pants to buy.

He didn't get a whole lot of time to go shopping though. The four of us met up with SYG for a late lunch. And then, MB and I had to make our way to our second event of the day - Short Track Speedskating. If there's any sport that's the opposite of the morning's cerebral curling, it has to be this roller derby on ice. Once again, Merlot Boy was the beneficiary of an extra ticket. This time, it was Boo's ticket that was available because he couldn't get out of his night shift at work. And, boy, did we find out what those tickets were worth. There must have been 500 or more people outside the venue trying to buy extra tickets. We easily could have scored enough to buy a pair of curling pants - in fact, we likely could have outfitted a whole team.

I think the tix were as popular as they were because all the Canucks in the crowd had great hopes for a Canadian medal that night. Although Canadians made it to the finals in both the men's and women's event, we came up short both times. There was a mass groan of frustration when, after qualifying two Canadians in a five-man final, the only athletes not to win a medal were the two Canuck boys. That darned Apollo Anton Ohno. Not to mention the two Koreans.

Needless to say, we weren't able to bring along a bottle of wine to the sporting events with us - although, personally, I can't imagine why not. Once the skating was over, it just meant that Merlot Boy and I had to hightail it downtown to meet up with Daveyboi. Little did we know that we'd have to show up on his door empty handed. Apparently the street revellers on Friday night were a tad rambunctious and, as a precautionary measure, the police, provincial and city officials thought it best to close all the bottle shops at 7.00 pm. On a Saturday night! What in the name of Ernest & Julio Gallo?!

Luckily, Daveyboi had a bottle on hand for our enjoyment. There's no doubt that I needed a glass given the day's events.

371. 2005 Peter Lehmann The Futures Shiraz (Barossa Valley - Australia)

And a nice bottle it was. Peter Lehmann and I go back a fair ways. In fact, The Futures goes back a good ways with Lehmann wines as well. The winery's first wine ever sold was "The Futures Shiraz." Back in 1980, Peter Lehmann was concerned about having enough funds in play to even ensure that the winery could have a future itself. He sold The Futures Shiraz to friends and family on a "pay now and we'll deliver in two years arrangement." It's been a cornerstone of the winery ever since.

Peter Lehmann is a mainstay with the Australian Wine Appreciation Society and, as such, he's found his way to our table on more than a couple of occasions as well. Often referred to as a baby brother to the iconic "Eight Songs" and "Stonewell" wines, the winery sees The Futures as classic Barossa Shiraz - full of dark fruit, tannin and character - to be delivered at a "less-than-iconic-wine" price. At $33, it's not an everyday wine, but it does beat $133.

Following my theme of choosing wines for yesterday's gold medal winners, we should have moved on from Australia already, but, having no opportunity to buy a bottle to celebrate Friday's winners, we had to rely on Daveyboi to save the day. To get a little trite, I suppose beggars can't be choosers - and what's a little "rule" breaking, particularly when the bottle being offered was as choice as tonight's selection.

Admittedly, I was fading fast though and we had to be up and at 'em for another day of Olympic action in the morning. So, after they caught me starting to nod off on the couch, Merlot Boy and I braved the building party in the streets and wandered home for a well-deserved night's sleep.

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