How Olympic Curling Changed My Life (And How You Stream the 2018 Olympics)

In February of 2014, I, a simple department store electronics salesman, brought the Olympic spirit to a shopping mall in Eastern Washington.

Because I, at least until management found out, was in charge of the remote control to a floor display, sixty inch LED flat screen during the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Source: Official Sochi 2014 Olympics Gallery

The store had every conceivable cable channel, the better to draw in largely hypothetical customers who absolutely positively needed to know what ESPN 12 looked like in high definition. If there was an event taking place at any given time, I had access to it. And it’s the weirdest thing, but I swear on everything that I hold dear, if you throw a dart at a clock during the Winter Olympics, chances are that there’s a curling match on.

Seriously. Check the schedule.

There's curling happening all the time. I kid you not, this year there are eight curling matches the day before the opening ceremony.

For two weeks in 2014, if there was curling to be watched, you’d better believe we were watching curling. It became a small scale cultural epidemic. Coworkers from every department began to trickle, then steadily flow into the electronics section, their blue polo shirts converging around the mammoth television screen like poly-cotton pools.

The Olympic spirit and a desperate need to escape our actual workplace responsibilities filled our hearts. Before long, everyone had a favorite team. With information on the players themselves sparse at best, we developed backstories for our new curling idols the way a child would do with a rescue dog. The curlers’ victories became our victories; their defeats every bit as much our own. A sense of community, even tribalism, engulfed our humble workplace. Customers could wait. There was curling to be watched.

We watched a lot of curling, you guys.

And now I’m going to show you how you can, too. Without shelling out premium cable money. Without getting a job at the mall. Without losing any job you might already have at a mall because you orchestrated what ended up being a low-key curling-based gambling ring.

1: VPNs Are A-OK

If you don’t have one already, getting Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a pretty great idea. It helps to anonymize your online activity and can trick your web browser into thinking you’re somewhere else— and yes, they’re perfectly legal in most countries.

If you’re trying to watch the games from the United States, and you’re looking for a fresh take on Olympic coverage, VPNs are a nifty way to experience a different country’s perspective and stream events that might not otherwise be broadcasted locally.

Want to hear Englishmen with sweet accents refer to bobsledding as “bobsleighing?” Find a VPN with an exit node in the U.K. and stream via the BBC iPlayer.

Want to see what folks in Canada are excited aboot? An exit node in the Great White North gets you free access to coverage from the CBC.

2: Try Something New

My father — that guy from the streaming church services article — has always been a wise man. When I was a kid, he used to joke that his favorite place to feed me and my siblings was Costco on the days when they gave out free samples.

Carry his wisdom with you as you sign up for a free 30 day trial of YouTube TV. If you love it, keep your subscription for a cool $35 a month.

3: Explore Social Networks

Social media channels like Facebook, Periscope, and Instagram have made it easier than ever to live stream the most exciting events in our lives. As a result, there’s a pretty good chance that perusing these sites for a minute or two will turn up live footage from up close to the action.

Spoiler Alert: There’s never any way of knowing just how long these streams can last, as they’re usually run by everyday folks or citizen journalists whose attention to broadcast coherency only lasts for as long as it takes to get hungry and decide to go find a bagel somewhere.

Do you feel lucky, punk?

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