Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Unusual Facts.... Scotties Info

Things have been a struggle for Team NWT at the 2013 Scotties in Kingston, Ontario. I am starting to think that '13 might be a jinked year for this team. BUT we still have 5 games to go and lots of shots still in us!! Plus team spirit is still high and in curling that makes a big difference.

We did our Upclose and Personal interview yesterday at the Heart Stop Lounge. Megan and Sharon did a great job answering questions and it made me realize how intrigued curling fans are about the curling and how things work at the high performance level of this sport. Here are some interesting facts that people might like!

1. Yes, we all work day jobs! There are a few curlers who with Sport Canada funding are able to take some time off from their careers to focus on curling but almost all of us have day jobs and very supportive employers who are flexible with the time off that is required.

2. We do a lot between games and during our off time. No one really sleeps between games anymore and we refer to this time as active rest. We make sure we eat when we need to and then spend time checking out the city, shopping, or other activities (manicures, fabric shopping, visiting friends/family, etc). We do not just go back to our hotels rooms and sleep. And Yes, we watch a lot fo TSN curling also, when we are not on the ice.

3. There is no advertising allowed on the bench or ice surface (except the approved signage). That is why we all have the same water bottles. Anything we drink (G2, water, etc) needs to be put in these bottles before we get to the arena. It is also why we all wear the same jackets and carry the same duffle bags. The CCA supplies these to us so that there is no advertising during the event on players. Logos are also limited on our equipment so at times you may see duct tape covering things.

4. There are 2 change rooms at the arena. One for yellow rocks and one for red rocks. This means we never change in the same room as the opposition. So there are 4 teams in each change rooms and they are jsut the regular hockey locker rooms you see in any arean (urinals and all!!!). It is funny but you end up sort of being in the change rooms with the same teams each games, just the way a round robin works out.

5. Every team has a schedule. This means each and every moment of the day is planned. We know when to eat, what to eat, when to leave the hotel, when to wake up, etc. It is all scheduled. The Scotties is an event that takes a ton of planning and stamina and the schedules ensures that you are not tired out mid-week and or rushed with your preparations.

6. Who rooms together? Each teams gets 4 rooms and we indicate ahead of time who is staying with who. Most teams will give a room to each of the coach and fifth player and then 2 players will room in each of the other two rooms. All of these costs are covered by the CCA.

It definately feels at time like you are in another world during the Scotties but at the same time it also feels like home. There are no longer any surprises and things are planned out so much to make each player feel comfortable throughout the week. Plus the volunteers and hosts are so great to us that anything you need is only one request away. And after your first Scotties, everything of the week becomes so normal and natural to us but still interesting to fans of curling! Keep cheering!!!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bell Let's Talk Day!

Today (Feb 12, 2013) is a big day for 3 reasons; 1. It is Shrove Tuesday and we get to eat pancakes, 2. I leave for the 2013 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Kingston and 3. It is Bell's Let's Talk Day bringing awareness to mental illness. The pancakes need no further explaination so let me start with the Scotties. I am thrilled to be going to my 6th Scotties and with my same great teammates from last year. Yes, we all know the story of Team Galusha and the flu from 2012 and we are aiming for much better results this year (without the flu!). I leave today to meet up with everyone in Yellowknife and one last practice game before we take off tomorrow. It has been another busy year for this team and I am proud of everything we have done to date. As I decided to take a bit more time for my own adventures (I went to Hawaii in December!!!), and so I will be traveling with Team Galusha as the fifth player. But take my job as a benchwarmer very seriously!

Now Let's Talk... many people do not know that I struggle with generalized anxiety. This is not anxiety that comes along as a panic attack or depression but rather it is anxiety that is always present and never goes away. I remember having this even as a child and waiting for my parents to pick me up from activities or hating going to summer camps, etc. This anxiety hit a record high 3 years when I fainted at the gym and suffered from a major concussion. After many tests it was found that I fainted due to my body not regulating blood pressure and a couple other health issues but I still really believe that some of this was a sign that my anxiety was out of control. After 6 months of suffering from mega post- concussion syndromes I turned to yoga and the Doctor (giving me a prescription for citalopram), this along with curling and sewing has saved me. It is like a whole different way of life and outlook on things. Sure there are still bad days and bad moments where I need to slow down and breath but things are soooo much clearer and calmer for me.

Many people ask how my anxiety affects curling. It is the opposite where curling affects my anxiety in a positive way. As more athletes talk about mental illness I feel the same as what others are reporting. Curling is a time when I have complete control over my body and my mind. When I step onto a sheet of curling ice (or sometimes onto the treadmill) I get this wave of calmness through my whole body. As soon as my feet touch the ice nothing else matters. I think this is what gets an athlete addicted to a sport and maybe why many athletes suffer from mental illness. There is no better feeling for me than the bubble of curling!!!

And so with all these happy thoughts for today; good luck and good curling. Many things to look forward to over the next couple of weeks (and lots of Blog posts).