A major scandal now rocks a sport which is dear to the hearts of all readers of this blog, I am sure.

Strange brooms have been introduced into Curling!  They make the rocks shift more in their icy slide than normal brooms.


From Vocativ:

Broomgate Scandal Rocks Curling
Welcome to the first ever controversy over high-tech brooms in sport

The broom, you might think, has little room for improvement. Take a handle and some bristles, fasten together, and enjoy a perfectly competent cleaning device.

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but sometimes fame and fortune become the adoptive parents. As the sport of curling has professionalized since its reintroduction to the Olympics in 1998—that’s the competition where stones are slid along the ice with two players furiously sweeping the preceding terrain—the investment in broom R&D has gone up, too. (Independent of Proctor & Gamble’s Swiffer, mind you.)

Therein arose a problem: Broomgate, as it’s predictably being called. Until last November, the World Curling Federation hadn’t really regulated the type of brooms curlers could use. This is, after all, a sport that still mines the quarry of an uninhabited Scottish island for all its micro-granite stones.

In this vacuum of regulation arose something called “directional fabric,” which permits more extreme course-changing down the lane. One company in this market, Hardline Curling, touts its icePad’s patent-pending technology that brushes only the small ice pebbles atop the lane. The president of Balance Plus, an industry leader, responded in an open letter urging an unnamed company (cough cough, Hardline, cough cough) to “Do The Right Thing and stop using directional fabric.”

Any novice who’s stumbled onto a televised match has probably wondered how much control the sweepers really have in generating enough friction to change the stone’s trajectory. Well, as former world champion Glenn Howard told SportsNet in Canada last fall, “It’s a type of fabric that allows you to virtually steer the rock. I use the phrase ‘joystick’. I can now joystick right, left, forward, back.

“Up until 18 months ago, it was 80 percent shooter, 20 percent sweeping and now in the last year and a half, it’s become 20 percent shooting and 80 percent sweeping. It’s just not acceptable.


Oh, the humanity! What pathos will sweep through the nation?

We will keep our eyes on this immense news.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Nathan says:

    My family and I went to the U.S. national curling championships near Philadelphia a few years ago. It really was a lot of fun, but the folks who are on the ice take their curling and their equipment extremely seriously. I think the reason is that actual curling is a lot more difficult than it appears on television.

    Of course, good curlers are traditionalists (which is why they are gentlemanly and ladylike in their demeanor on the sheet), so one might expect them to be wary of any novus ordo scoparum.

    In Christ,

  2. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Is there already Traditional Curling in the way that there is Traditional Baseball? If not, I can imagine its rise…

  3. APX says:

    I’m not sure if they’re the same thing, but we’ve been using something like this for a number of years in Saskatchewan. The curling club belonged to preferred bristleless brooms to the traditional broom because it kept stray bristles off the ice which wreak havoc when hit by a rock.

  4. HealingRose says:

    If they restrict the new brooms, I wonder what they will do with all of the discarded inventory… Who might find a broom that works like a joystick moving in any direction useful?

    (Forgive me Fr. Z., I was reading this after the Hillary and Nancy articles, & I couldn’t help finding a common theme.)

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    On the bright side, with all that micro-granite there will be no Deflategate.

  6. acricketchirps says:

    First ever…?
    I think I remember the same kind of scandal when push brooms replaced corn brooms back in the seventies.

  7. Hidden One says:

    Curling is what we Canucks pretend we don’t watch when there’s no hockey on.

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