As anyone involved in amateur sports knows, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to persevere. Many of these athletes have regular work to make ends meet, meaning taking time off for long drives to competitions or arriving at their day job tired and bleary eyed.
Curling is no exception. While the tournaments, or bonspiels as they’re called, offer cash prizes, there are very few full-time professional curlers. A season curling competitively can cost north of $20,000.
It’s not lucrative and lots of sacrifices are made. But these athletes don’t do it for the money, they do it for the love…the love of the sport and maybe even a dream of a little glory down the road.
As Susan McKnight, the skip of the newly formed Team McKnight, declares, “The ultimate goal is the 2018 Olympics.”
Those Olympics are in PyeongChang, Korea. And after Canada’s dominance in curling at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, expectations for a repeat will be high and the competition to be the team that represents Canada will be fierce. Competing in the Canadian Trials will be a feat in and of itself.
But their are other goals along the way, the nearest being participating in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the annual Canadian women’s curling championship.
Susan and her new team, along with their coach, Colin Sinclair, are ready for the challenge, beginning with a rigorous off-season training program and a search for sponsorship.
It’s not like Susan is new to the sport of curling. She grew up at the curling rink, watching her parents play the sport. Naturally, it wasn’t long before she began playing as well. Now she has a wealth of curling experience, 30 years in fact, and with her new teammates in place, most of whom she met at the Ontario Curling Circuit, they have well over a century of combined experience.
Who knows what will happen in four years in PyeongChang, but this could be the start of something special, and you might be able to say, “You know Team McKnight, the gold medalists? Yeah, well I knew them when…”
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