Tag Archives: John Shuster

Team USA wins curling gold, and dammit I love that sport. A team from Parkland Douglas H.S. wins a state championship. And a transgender wrestler makes history

I am mocked, just about every time, when I tell people how much I love curling.

I fell in love with the sport in, I think it was 2002, when watching the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics (run by one Mitt Romney, hey, whatever happened to that guy?). It’s exciting, there are super-cool terms in it like “shot rock” and “the hammer,” and if you pay attention for a few minutes you can learn a lot.

I got so into the sport that when I moved back to N.Y. a few years ago I took a couple of curling demo lessons and loved it. Yes, I did accidentally bloody the nose of a fellow classmate when I slipped on the ice and my broom smacked her in the face, but hey, who among us hasn’t done that?

Anyway, my point is, curling rocks. And so it seems perfect that in the first Olympics since I learned to love the sport, I didn’t get to watch much of it during these Games, and so of course one of the greatest stories ever in the sport took place.

Of course you know what I’m talking about (or maybe you don’t because, again, it’s curling).

Team USA’s men’s team, which has been so disappointing the last few Olympiads, started out 2-4 in South Korea, then blitzed through the field, stunning Canada and then Sweden in the gold medal game Saturday. John Shuster had the tournament of his life, culminating in this amazing shot (below) that scored five points/rocks.

Very, very cool. Let the curling revolution in America begin!!

**Next up today, with all the incredible developments coming out of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., you look for some small moments of joy amidst all the grief.

High school hockey isn’t big in Florida, as you might expect. But there’s still a tournament held every year, and over the weekend the Marjory Stoneman Douglas boys team won a state chapionship.

Some of the players dyed their hair yellow as a tribute to the victims (not sure why yellow is the color but hey, whatever works) , and they won two games Sunday to win the title despite being the lowest-seeded team in the final rounds.

“We came into the game knowing we had to give it our all to get the win and that’s what we did, and now we get to bring the trophy back to the best high school in America,” said forward Joey Zenobi.

Very cool to see a positive story coming out of Parkland.

**Finally today, you may remember last year there was a major kerfuffle over a transgender high school wrestler in Texas winning a state title. Mack Breggs, formerly MacKenzie Beggs, was born a female but has been transitioning to a male over the past several years, taking small doses of testosterone during the transition.

Mack wanted to wrestle against boys but Texas scholastic rules required them to compete in the gender thats on their birth certificate, so Mack wrestled in the state girls tournament last week.

And Mack won, even with half the crowd booing and half the crowd cheering him.

To me, it’s disgraceful that Mack was booed; like transitioning isn’t hard enough on a teenager, you’re going to boo them at a high school wrestling meet? Come on.

“I’ve trained too hard for haters to put me down,” he told the Star-Telegram after regional competition. “I’ve worked too hard for that. I work day in and day out. I’ve been through too much [expletive] for anyone to put me down.”

Good for Mack. And shame on the grown-ups who treated a kid this way.


An Olympic curling heartbreaker, the wonderful Vonn, and a kick-ass John Hughes tribute

Oy, so many things to blog about tonight, and so little time … I know you’re all as busy as I am so a bunch of quick-hitting thoughts today:

— Why I love the Olympics, Reason 467: Lindsey Vonn’s emotions after winning her

first gold medal, in the women’s downhill. If LeBron James or Derek Jeter lose a playoff series, they know they have next season. These Olympians have to wait four years to try to reach the pinnacle of their sport again, and the thousands and thousands of hours of training and suffering aren’t worth it unless you medal.

Vonn, who has had so much pressure on her in the run-up to the Games, since she was NBC’s poster-child for Team USA, came through with the race of her life. And then, after it was over, she wept and sobbed and embraced her husband in such a beautiful moment. (Though hey, NBC, could we have given them their private moment without filming it? I mean, it was great television, but a few minutes of privacy first would’ve been nice for them.)

— Julie and I were absolutely riveted between 6-8 p.m. Wednesday night, as the U.S. and Switzerland’s men’s curling teams battled in a great match. I’m telling you, this curling stuff is phenomenal. The strategy, the announcer guy Don (who has a fabulous Canadian accent and such a folksy charm; he’s like the Tom Bodette of these Olympics), the fact that there are timeouts (that kills me), the cool but enormous measurement tool they use to see which rock is closer to “the house” … it’s all fascinating.

Brutally tough loss for the U.S., as our skip, John Shuster, couldn’t quite do enough to lead America to victory.  It was our second-straight one point defeat; couple that with the U.S. women’s loss Wednesday morning, and it’s safe to say our rocks haven’t been, well, rockin’ so far.

— A brief non-Olympics interlude: I am truly blown away by how bizarre “Big Love” is getting. I mean, it’s bordering on the ridiculous. Still, I’m riveted. OK, end of digression.

— I have no idea how Shaun White does what he does. But damn, it’s awesome.  I don’t want to say he was up high on the half-pipe course, but three people boarded him thinking it was the plane for their flight to Seattle.

— The short-track speed skating continues to thrill. Good for Shani Davis to win again, and watching the women’s 500 late last night was awesome; there were four crashes in the prelim races; this sport truly is NASCAR with skates.

— And finally, I wrote about my love of the late, great director John Hughes here when he died.  For some reason I hadn’t seen this yet, but my old college buddy Rob Kalesse put this on his Facebook page tonight, and I was blown away.

If you’re a child of the 80’s, or just love John Hughes, this is five wonderful minutes that you’ll enjoy.