Why Being A Christian Is A Lot Like Olympic Curling

1. No one can agree on what the rules are.

I swear, we’ve probably watched eight rounds of curling during the Olympics and I still have no idea what the rules actually are. Are they trying to get all of their pucks (is that thing a puck?) on the bulls-eye? Are they trying to just land one in the middle? I have no idea, and at the end of every match I’m honestly confused at why the team who won, actually won. No one in my family agrees on the rules either because the whole game is just straight up confusing even though it *looks* simple. Now, I could solve this problem by looking up the rules to the game online, but I’ve never been one to take the easy way to do anything.

Christianity is a lot like this. No one completely understands how the game is supposed to be played. Everyone on the team has their own idea as to what the focus should be, and which rules are important.  Folks watching from the outside? They’re just as confused as we are even if they don’t always realize it.

Sadly, we often settle for arguing about the rules while sitting in the bleachers rather than learning by taking a chance and just getting out on the ice.

Those of us on the ice? We’re all just trying to figure it out as we play, even when we talk a big game about strategy.

2. The landscape is constantly shifting.

Ever get up to go the bathroom during a curling match? Trust me– when you come back to the living room, the game will look completely different. The balls (are they balls?) are constantly smashing into each other and knocking each other off  the course (is that a course?). One minute it is a field of red and the next, it’s a field of yellow– and if you’re not paying attention, you won’t understand what just happened.

In Christianity the dialogue is always shifting- one day we’re all talking about gender equality and the next thing you know, everyone is talking talking about evolution. It happens, sometimes quickly, and I get that it can be confusing. I think it’s even confusing for us sometimes. Like curling, you’re just going to have to learn to roll with the changes and shifting foci.

3. With every move you make, someone on the team is going to yell at you.

Seriously– someone needs to explain to me what they’re yelling in curling. At first I just thought it was a language barrier, but even when teams who speak languages I understand play, I still can’t figure out what the heck they’re saying. All I know is that no matter which direction the stone (just looked that one up) is going in, there’s going to be a lot of yelling.

Welcome to being a Christian. It’s fun most of the time, but no matter what you do, someone else on the team is going to *insist* that you don’t understand how to play and is going to yell at you.

The best thing you can do is learn how to tune out those voices. When I’m watching a match of curling (is it a match, or a game?), the player doing all the yelling is distracting to me and doesn’t make it any easier to figure out how the game is supposed to be played. The same is true with being a Christian– loud, obnoxious voices will actually make the journey harder instead of easier, so learn to tune them out so you can sweep that ice in peace. (What’s the goal of sweeping the ice anyway? I can’t figure out if they’re steering or controlling the speed.)

Yes, being a Christian is a lot like watching a game of curling. No one understands the rules, the game is constantly changing, and someone is always yelling at you.

But, all things considered, it’s still the only game I’m interested in playing.


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  • Terry Firma

    I recommend tennis, myself. ;-)

  • dude, Totally loving this one. :)

    On a note, think of curling as more towards playing horseshoes and quoits combined with the sliding and bumping of shuffleboard… closest to the center gets a point but you can block and bump and nudge…

  • Jakeithus

    As a Canadian, it’s hard to understand how curling is so often misunderstood by those who are unfamiliar. I’m actually watching a competitive curling match between Canada-China, rather than the almost sure blowout hockey game of Canada-Latvia.

    As was said before, closest to the middle gets a point. If you have 2 stones closer to the middle than your nearest opponent’s stone, 2 points, and so on. You play 10 ends, throwing 8 stones each end (2 per person). The loser of each end gets the last throw in the next end, and the advantage that comes with it. The only real confusing rules have to do with guards (rocks outside of the rings), and when you are not allowed to remove them from play.

    The yelling is one of the best parts, and it really crosses all linguistic barriers. “Hurry Hard” and “Whoa” are all you really need to know. When they’re yelling, it means something has the potential to go wrong, so either sweep as hard as you can or leave it completely alone. If it’s quiet, things are looking good.

    Point 2 is pretty good though. Rather than say we all disagree about the rules, it would’ve been better to say we use complex terminology no one else understands. Hog line, T-line, Draw weight, shot stone, the Hammer, Run Back….I’m sure I can think of more. Not all that different from the Christianese we are all familiar with, but makes no sense to outsiders.

  • See, if I had understood the terminology of curling, I could have had a stronger point #2! Thanks for the education :)

  • Jakeithus

    No problem. The more people understand curling, the better. Think of it as similar to golf, baseball, or Nascar when it comes to sports that are great to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon while lying on the couch, even if others find it boring or can’t understand what you see in it.

    Really, to get the sport the exposure it needs in the United States, there just needs to be a competitive, attractive young team that the media can get behind. NBC would promote the heck out of curling if America had a team like the British or Russian women’s teams.

  • Jill Roper

    I hate the yelling. Never been a fan of yelling. I remember seeing a teenage boy standing on a street corner with a sign saying everyone is going to hell unless you believe like he did. Now I am a Jesus follower from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, that being said the yelling just turns everyone off. I would rather my life be a light in the darkness that will draw people to the feet of the cross. No yelling, just loving the best I know how.
    As for curling, I will leave it to the experts, it makes me fall asleep!
    Your covered sister

  • Joe

    At least in cricket there is a ball and bats even though nobody knows what is going on. In curling, in addition to nobody knowing what is going on, nobody knows what the heck those thingies are.

  • ahermit

    They ruined the game when they removed the ashtrays and drink holders.

  • Artor

    So it’s confusing, but you can’t be bothered to make the slightest effort to figure it out? Yes, I guess curling is EXACTLY like some people’s practice of Xianity.

  • LDavidH

    Great post! I also found curling confusing until I looked up the rules; as a minister, church can also be confusing, but the Book will help sort it out (to a certain extent…).

  • Bonta-kun

    Us Brits have a head start. It’s team crown green bowls on ice.

    They’re shouting “HAAAAAAAAARD!” to get teammates to give it some welly with the brooms – smooths the ice, less friction, lengthens the run of the stone (they’re stones) and reduces the effect of the curl.

  • freddieknows

    “But, all things considered, it’s still the only game I’m interested in playing.”

    Spoken like a true victim of your indoctrination. If your hypothetical game of curling is so defected; why not consider a different “game;” or perhaps no “game” at all?

    Is your mind so hand-cuffed by your biases for and your indoctrination into curling; that you won’t consider life without curling? Why is it the only game you’re interested in playing? Are those reasons rational and logical? Or don’t rationality and logic have a place at the curling court or rink or what-ever-it’s-called?

  • You’re assuming that I’ve been indoctrinated, haven’t considered other games or no games, don’t have a mind of my own, etc, all things which are untrue.

    Simply because I’m able to laugh at my own culture, doesn’t make me any of those things.

  • freddieknows

    Your affinity is for “curling,” not cricket or soccer.

    If you were something other than a “fan” of the most popular “sport” in your society, I might believe that you weren’t indoctrinated.

  • ahermit
  • Why must making a decision to play only one make me indoctrinated? Why cant it mean that I’ve studied cricket and soccer, and simply found curling to be the right choice for me?

  • 1cardinals1

    Yeah, the rules are simple all right. It’s called shuffleboard! The rules are almost the exact same! That’s right! You’ve been watching a retirement home game all this time masked as an olympic sport!

  • Jakeithus

    Part of the beauty of curling is that it is accessible to people of all age groups.

    Of course, saying that Olympic level curling is just a retirement home sport is like saying Nascar is no different than me and a friend driving circles around a parking lot for an afternoon, or making fun of sprinters for doing something that literally almost any able bodied individual is capable of doing.

  • “most”


  • “God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players (i.e., everybody), to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.” — Good Omens

    (We’ll ignore that it’s a lot worse than that–players also are forced to play even if they don’t want to play, among other negative aspects to this game–but it fits overall with what you’re saying, eh?)