Monday, January 6, 2014

We Win Some and We Lose Some

I was waiting until the 2014 NWT/Yukon Scotties Women's Curling Championships were over before writing this Blog entry. Now on Monday evening I can officially say it is over, and unfortunately Team Kerry Galusha did not come through as the winner. But rather we will be cheering on Team Sarah Kolton from Whitehorse, Yukon at the 2014 Scotties in Montreal as she leads her team as Team Yukon/NWT. I will let the newspaper report on how many years it has been since a Yukon team won and also what other curlers have the claim to fame of representing their province at a junior and women's national championship in the same year. Kudos to them.

These wins (Team Kolton) and losses (Team Galusha) has made me think of a few little tidbits over the course of the championship. As many of you know I made the decision in the spring to take a year (or 2) off curling and so this year has given me a bit of an outsider perspective on things. I have also learned that watching curling is far more exciting when you are not curling; you actually pay more attention and get way more swept up in the thrill of it all! Loving it all and now onto my 'tidbits':

Curling is not life. I know we all say this but what makes the big difference is to really believe it way down deep inside yourself. This is so hard to believe as a young player and takes a bit more time to learn when you do not have a children and are a single gal like me. We live and die for the sport when we are on the ice but when you walk of the ice there is so much more out there to experience and focus on. I have learned to get my adreneline rush elsewhere (canoe racing), I have learned to enjoy the little things in life (Hawaii taught me that) and I have learned to slow down and be grateful (thank you yoga!).

Life lessons learned. When deciding not to curl I thought of all the things I have given up and sacraficed to curl but now I feel the opposite; it more like reviewing and reflecting on all the lessons that you have gained from the sport. How to lose, how to get back up from defeat, how to push yourself, how to set goals, how to train, how to be active, how to visualize, how to dream, how to be a temmate, how to build relationships, and the list can go on and on.

Create an identity. They say that mental health issues/rates amoung retired athletes are high and I think it is due to your identity so closely being connected to your sport. We think that without the sport we are some how diminished and this couldn't be farther from the truth. In taking a step beyond the sport we learn that we are so much more than athletes! Our sport can help build us into a person that we don't always acknowledge nor see ourselves as. Something really powerful. We don't need the big show to tell us we are a champion!

Yes, we are getting older. I still bring my ID with me to a bar in case I get asked to prove my age; reality is that this is never going to happen any more. We are no longer the young guns or the youth of the sport. But this means we can still compete, be competitive and be champions but it also means we have a new generation of athletes and people behind us that are pushing the envelope just as harder, if not harder. We gotta LOVE this!

I can PADDLE! This is much lighter tidbit as I also learned that my front end sweeping skills, my mental toughness and my super competitiveness have transfered perfectly into being a sprint and marathon paddler. It is also a good reason to keep up with a gym and fitness routine. And when planning a support team and individuals who will force you back in a boat when you really don't think you can take another stroke, my invitation to sent to my old curling teammates. LOL

But seriously, what we learn is that doors never fully shut and that new opportunities always arise. Whether it is a loss, a year off from the game we love or full out retirement there always seems to be a new challenger in front of us. Curling teaches us that we are not people who sit around and watch the world pass by around us, we tend to be the people who keep jumping right into things!   


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