Beer & Curling in Riga

06 Dec 2016

One cold evening Riga In Your Pocket decided that we would pick a winter sport to write a feature about. Given Latvia’s obsession with its hip-checking heroes, hockey would seem a logical choice or perhaps even bobsleighing when one takes into consideration the legendary run at Sigulda, but over the past decade or so we’ve been there and done that several times and we were thirsting for something new.
As luck would have it, our prayers were answered at a chance meeting at a bar on Lāčplēša iela when the guys and gals at Travel Out There challenged us to a game of, wait for it, curling. Yes, curling, that bizarre sport associated with crazy Scotsmen and Canadian janitors frantically sweeping ice to make room for a giant polished rock. To answer your question, yes, the Canadians and Scots are an odd lot, but there has to be something to this bowling on ice or it wouldn’t be an Olympic sport, right?
We, of course, accepted the challenge figuring that it couldn't be that hard throwing a bunch of big rocks.

Unfortunately, it only occurred to us the next day that we needed four people to field a team. It may sound strange, but we’ll let you in on a little-known secret. Riga In Your Pocket is not a well-oiled Borg collective with worker drones in their thousands taking care of countless mundane tasks – calling restaurants, entering data and assimilating alien races. So far, the team consisted of a bald American travel writer with a bum knee and a Latvian snowboarder with a broken arm. We needed to find a few ringers. We enlisted the help of three friends: Disco Rob (AKA Bobby Fresh, AKA Saul Rosenberg) who’s always up for shenanigans on a workday, Ervīns K. (AKA Special K) who’s experience as the director of an international cleaning service could come in handy with the sweeping and the Professor (AKA Skip) who claimed that his distant cousin, whom he hadn’t seen in a couple of decades, had married an Olympic gold medallist in curling.


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