Well, this is it folks. Tonight at 1:35am, as some bars begin turning the lights on for last call, Team Shuster and the US Men’s Curling team will take the ice for the last time in these 2018 Olympic Games. This time, though, they play for a chance to go home Olympic Champions for the first time in US history.
I know, I know, we in the states are decidedly the best at pretty much every athletic spectacle worth caring about in the world. But in the bizarre, cult-esque world of Curling, we’re typically an after thought. We’re competitive, sure, but never really close to being the best. What Northwestern is to B1G football, we are to the men’s curling circuit.
In fact, these Olympics were shaping up to be a lot like our last two showings. We were in every game, but always had that one bad end where we let an opponent steal a few too many points. After conceding to Japan and then losing to Norway to fall to 2-4 in Round Robin play, hopes of a podium spot seemed pretty much shot.
Instead, the unthinkable happened. This team rattled of five straight victories to finish 5-4 with the 3 seed in the playoff bracket, including wins over Canada and Great Britain. Shuster was leading this team in a way I hadn’t before seen in the Olympics, and this team was playing like they had nothing to lose.
To make the semifinals seemed like an accomplishment in of itself. I didn’t think we had a prayer of beating the Canadians, three time defending gold medalists, twice in the same week. I mentally prepped myself for the bronze medal match that would take place Friday morning. But again, Team Shuster proved me wrong. A big 2 point steal in the 8th end with a solid hammer throw in the tenth clinched a 5-3 victory over Canada that left me wondering, “what did I just watch?”
So tonight, come 1:35, this group of men will do something that no US Men’s Curling Team before them has done – play for an Olympic gold medal. I implore everyone to make it their civic duty to yell at their bartender and make sure this match is on every TV in the establishment. Gather your friends, buy a bunch of Rolling Rocks for the sake of the pun, and watch this group of beauties stomp all over the Curling world. If the Cubs and Astros can win the World Series, if the Eagles can win the Super Bowl, if Kirk Cousins could become the highest paid player in NFL history, then truely anything is possible.
Why. Not. Us?
NBCSports 1:35am. See you all on Twitter. @threejay03