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Fargo: A Few Days in Paris (of the Midwest)

November 18, 2013 8:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
Fargo: A Few Days in Paris (of the Midwest)
by Chris Olander

At one point, we were all watching Fargo in Fargo at the Fargo. It doesn't get much more meta than that. I'd call that a highlight of the trip except the whole five days was so much fun it's virtually impossible for me to pick one moment that stands head and shoulders above the rest. But let's back up, Wednesday morning I landed in Fargo. Yes, Fargo.

The 2014 US Olympic Team Trials for curling were being held in Fargo, and a few of us from Hollywood Curling decided to make the jaunt over to see it live and in person. I am so glad I went, Fargo did not disappoint. The whole five days I kept thinking how much I love this sport (a lot) and how much fun it can be (tons).

Though curling was the main draw we did do other things in Fargo. We had some wonderful beer and a fantastic tour of the Fargo Brewing Company. Aaron and the boys there sure do make a smooth porter and were very gracious hosts (and bonus, who knew barley was so delicious to eat raw?). Their team of 4 (maybe 5) hard working guys focused on one goal sure seems to be paying off big dividends for them.

Most of the non-curling awesomeness we got to be apart of was because Marissa and I were hangers-on of Matt and Jen's FANdango contest winnings (thanks guys!). Liza also flew out later in the week and it was the 5 of us who got (basically) our own private screening of Fargo (in Fargo at the Fargo). We also had some great burgers at JL Beers, frozen custard at Culver's, delicious BBQ at Famous Dave's, going to the biggest Wal-Mart I've ever seen, delivering stones for 4 ends on the championship ice...and some other stuff. We even got to curl at the band new Fargo-Moorhead Curling Club, twice!

There were also lots and lots of curling draws.The curling really was fantastic. The double round robin format allowed us to see all the teams slug it out for several draws before the finals. Great guards, draws, peels, ticks, doubles, triples...so much awesome curling. Everyone, working hard, sweeping and sliding, teams of 4 working towards a great and common purpose...Sochi.

For all but two teams the "Road to Sochi" ended in Fargo. But that doesn't take away anything from what they've done or what they are able to teach just by working hard. Through all the fun I had off the ice, sitting in Scheeles Arena, watching these teams work, really left me thinking about team dynamics. Four great curlers don't make a championship team. Great teams are born of common cause, friendship, dedication and hard, hard work. They are more than the sum of their parts. That's my take away from this week. Having superstar players is nice but if your team is not firing on all cylinders then it's tough to win, at any level. That of course is not a new concept but I think it bears repeating if only for myself.

I sometimes get wrapped up in trying win and forget to have fun. I sometimes take things a bit seriously when our team misses a shot. It's ok sometimes because we're all getting into the moment. But more often it's too much and I think it takes away from why our team started curling in the first place. I can be a better skip/teammate/person and I learned a little about that this week watching the Olympic curling trials.

We closed our trip down on Sunday by chatting with Team Brown for a bit during draw 3 of the mens championship. That might actually be my "highlight" because all those girls are so excited to be going back to the Olympics (I broke my cowbell cheering so hard when they won on Saturday). Listening to them talk about games from the week before, remembering shots, discussing the ice and their play was fun to hear. They were all so great and gracious chatting with us and taking photos not half a day after winning their way to Sochi. They are a special team and a great group of women. I'll be cheering extra hard for them in a few months when the Olympics roll around (after I fix my cowbell).

So, while you might have thought that there's only one reason to go to Fargo, curling, you'd be wrong. The people of Fargo were nothing but generous and warm. The food was great, the weather was great, the curling was (of course) great. Fargo was great. As Matt said (and we did our best to spread this saying to everyone we met) Fargo is the Paris of the midwest. It's true. Good teamwork Fargo. And good curling!

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