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Smooth It Over

Smooth It Over English, baby! Video Lesson

Date: Mar 02 2010

Themes: Hobbies, Sports

Grammar: Comparatives and Superlatives


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

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2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

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One of the great things about the Winter Olympics is that they introduce us to so many wacky sports we would otherwise know nothing about. One of the wackiest is curling. Jason thinks curling is also pretty extreme. As part of his quest to earn an Olympic gold medal in Vancouver so he can rescue his kidnapped friends, Jason learns about curling firsthand from a member of the Evergreen Curling Club.

The basic goal of curling is to slide heavy, polished stones across ice toward a target. In order to help move the stones toward the target, two team members use brooms to smooth over the ice. But Olympic curlers aren’t the only ones who have to smooth something over. Learn the double meaning of “smooth it over,” and find out if Jason has what it takes to become a curling champ.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Jason:  We’re here on the ice, ready for one of the most extreme Winter Olympics sports of all, curling! This is English, baby! I am Jason, here with Steve at the Evergreen Curling Club. Can you tell us just a little bit, for people who don’t know, what is the object of the game?

Curling_Steve:  Curling is kind of like a combination of shuffle board and chess on ice. The object is to get your stones closer to the center of the target than your opponent. And for every stone that’s closer than your opponent, you get one point. There’s four people on each team. One person is always throwing, two people are always sweeping the stone, and what sweeping does, it reduces the friction between the stone and the ice, makes it go farther than it would otherwise and makes it go straighter than it would otherwise.

Jason:  So it reduces the friction. Would you say that it smooths it over?

Curling_Steve:  Yeah. That’s a good description of it.

Jason:  Like, what does that mean in general? Like, if we stayed on the ice too long, and they were mad at us, you’d have to smooth it over, right?

Curling_Steve:  Yeah. I’d have to smooth over our relationship with the ice rink.

Jason:  So there’s some slang in curling that no one would know unless they played?

Curling_Steve:  Ah, there’s a lot of slang in curling. Hurry hard is what the skip yells out when they want the sweepers to sweep really hard and fast.

Jason:  OK.

Curling_Steve:  Off means off. Clean means just sweep in front of the stone lightly to clean any debris that might get in the way ‘cause that will mess up the stone.

Jason:  I like hurry hard. That’s a good one.

Curling_Steve:  Hurry hard.

Jason:  Well, thanks so much, Steve. Can I get you to give me a high five and say “English, baby!”?

Curling_Steve:  English, baby!

Jason:  Thank you. That was rough. I am exhausted. Curling is hard. Those stones are heavy. But I think now that I know all about curling, hockey, ski-jumping, half-pipe snowboarding, no problem. Everything is gravy from here on out. Hurry hard, English, baby! Hurry hard.


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Jason learns about curling from Steve of the Evergreen Curling Club. Curling is a sport in which teams push heavy stones across the ice and try to get them closer to the target than other teams. Two people have to sweep the ice to smooth it over and make the stone go faster and straighter than it otherwise would.

When you smooth ice over for curling, you reduce friction. But to “smooth something over” also means to fix a problem. Jason hopes that by winning a gold medal in Vancouver he’ll be able to smooth over whatever problem caused his friends to be kidnapped.

There are a lot of slang words and expressions that are used in curling. When someone says “hurry hard,” he means sweep the ice hard and fast. It’s kind of like saying “Go go go!” when you really want someone to hurry up. Now that Jason knows how to curl, and even how to use curling slang, he thinks the other Winter Olympic sports will be easy as can be.

What problems have you had to smooth over? Do you like to watch curling at the Olympics?



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Curling is a very strange sport, I think…

02:53 AM Feb 18 2010 |




I must to smooth it over to know what sport is it?...jockey..:)

07:41 PM Feb 16 2010 |




So , i think that curling is very interesting sport, at least for me because I have never played it, as Im from Slovakia, and here is the only place where we can hear about curling TV and internet. 

And, my problem to smooth over is chemistry test on thurdsday:D 

03:33 PM Feb 16 2010 |




I'd like to play it.but I know it's very rare here in Egypt.

02:22 PM Feb 16 2010 |




this good game!!!

always is good to learn new sports…

I like  


02:17 PM Feb 16 2010 |




Curling is interesting sport like sweeping off the ice's surface to remove the debris and I think this sport is not so gravy you need more practice so that you'll able to  get points.

01:36 PM Feb 16 2010 |



Really, it is a wacky sport. I hope that all of you like it, although I don't.

04:56 AM Feb 16 2010 |

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