By Dawson Petryshen
In the vast world of sports, there are quite a few that get overlooked outside the big 4 of hockey, baseball, basketball and soccer, curling being one of them.
Although there are only four people per team curling is a sport centered on teamwork where each member has a responsibility.
“You look at the game of curling, it’s not just one person. Everybody’s involved. One person will miss a rock, another person will pick up for it, and that person could miss a shot. It’s 100% a team effort,” said the Ooks curling captain Ryan Saville.
Unlike most sports, curling has a shortened season – only 4 major tournaments (3 for the mixed competition) so there’s no time for games in between to hone certain skills; that must come in practice.
Late in November of 2019, the team participated in the first of two regional tournaments, which was held in Lloydminster. Finishing with a 3-2 record, Ryan and his team are feeling confident.
“It was definitely a little different this year…it was good to get everybody together and see where we were at and come out with a winning record,” said the captain.
Due to the very tight-knit roster, keeping a stable connection between everyone is crucial. Whether it be spending time with each other or making the most out of every practice, every conversation matters.
“We do a really good job with [staying close], we get along quite well,” said the captain. “We hang out outside of the rink, and we’re at the rink at least twice a week, so it works out for getting that connection as a team,” said Saville.
Having like-minded people on the roster culminates in having common goals to work for, along with individual progress.
“For myself, I’ve added the self-pressure of wanting to do well from last year, with everybody else, we go out there with the attitude of making our shots, and it’s just worked out for us,” said Saville.
Momentum is one of the largest factors of success in any sport, and with such limited time to shine, capitalizing on every victory, large or small, is key.
“The ultimate goal, right from the start of the season, before we even touch the ice, is to make provincials. Having come out of the Fall Regionals with a winning record, you want to keep building off that and cement that spot to play in Red Deer (for Nationals),” said the captain.
With one more barrier in their path, Winter Regionals here at NAIT on Jan. 24 to 26, Ryan and his teammates must rely on each other more than ever to keep the rock sliding in a positive direction for the year.