Sunday, December 06, 2009

Margo Weber: The Olympic Dream

[Welcome back Margo Weber; blogstar from the 2009 Tim Hortons Brier, she is back to pontificate on the Tim Hortons Canadian (Olympic) Trials. Here's her big-picture portrait of this amazing Olympic canvas...]

by Margo Weber

It all comes down to this, folks... because it’s finally here, what everyone has been talking about. The Roar of the Rings.

We’ve been waiting for this for years and it promises to be the best display of curling... possibly ever. This is an event with the best men’s and women’s curlers in Canada. Two teams will be crowned Olympians and go on to represent our country at home in Vancouver in February.

This is huge.

The last Olympic Trials I saw in person was in Brandon in 1997. I held my breath when Sandra Schmirler made ‘the shot’, and I sat right behind the sheet when Mike Harris casually walked away to get a drink of water, and walked back an Olympian.

I have very clear memories of sitting down with Shannon Kleibrink after her eventual loss to Team Schmirler, and with tears in her eyes she said she wasn’t upset at that moment because she’d lost the game... she just missed her kids.

This is a big deal. People put their lives on hold for this. Some wait just a few more years to start a family. Some set their careers aside, and even let them slip. Certainly most players sacrifice every vacation day they have just to prepare themselves for what might be. The Olympic Dream is a costly one.

Schmirler famously burst into tears after her final rock in that game. She was barely able to shake hands. She later explained that she simply did not know how she was going to leave her babies.

Some teams have been a threat for years. Kevin Martin, Glenn Howard, Jennifer Jones... they all qualified two seasons ago. They’ve been waiting, planning and preparing. Jason Gunnlaugson and Crystal Webster were pleasant surprises... perhaps they have less pressure on them. Maybe they will carry less on their shoulders as they march into Rexall Place. Someone like Jeff Stoughton knows he should be there... and will just take it one game at a time.

For us spectators, we sit... and wait... and, now, finally, we get to watch. And be glad we aren’t the parent of someone out there on the ice.

But we all know there are curling superstars in the making out there. Regardless of what happens, at least some of the athletes on the eventual Olympic teams will be brand new, frst-time Olympians.

They likely have no idea how their lives will change.

[CCA photo of Cheryl Bernard (nice shaaawwwt!) by Michael Burns]

• Behind-the-scenes pics of Opening Ceremonies and gab session
• Winner of our Glenn Howard curling condom trivia contest (say what?!)
... and more!

1 comment:

Scott Fraser said...

Love it! I'm so excited for this!