Wednesday, February 20

Grieving In Public And Playing For A Championship

Funeral takes hold on Englot rink

COREY ATKINSON | The Moose Jaw Times Herald
February 20, 2008

With the afternoon draw for the Saskatchewan rink happening only a few hours before skip Michelle Englot was to attend her father’s funeral, it’s easy to see why the entire team’s mind may have been elsewhere.

Nova Scotia defeated Saskatchewan, which includes Moose Jaw’s Cindy Simmons at lead, 8-4 in the afternoon at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts national women’s curling championship in Regina. The team’s momentum was seemingly stalled after four straight wins and the loss brings their record to 4-3.

“We didn’t play well,” Simmons said. “I don’t know if our heads weren’t into it or what it was, but Nova Scotia definitely played well. We’re still in control of our own destiny here. Eight-and-three will definitely get you in, so we’ve got to win the next four and make a good run at it going forward.”

The Nova Scotia game was played with a heavy heart, knowing the emotional funeral was in the evening.

“It’s just one of those things, and we’ve got to get our heads around where we need to be tomorrow,” she said.

But the morning draw against the Territories was a victory for Saskatchewan, and indeed closer to how they played throughout their winning streak.

“Everyone was playing their opposition and making the shots they need to make,” said Simmons. “(Tuesday) morning, we didn’t play great. We got some breaks from the other team that allowed us to win that game, and (Tuesday) afternoon, we didn’t outplay the opposition at all. They were on the right side of everything. Even when they missed a shot, it turned out roses for them.”

In order to win their next four matches, Saskatchewan will have to shake off not only the loss, but put aside the emotion while rocks are gliding down the ice. Grieving is something not easy to do at any point in one’s life, let alone while in the public eye while playing for a national curling championship.

“I’ve been through it a couple of years ago with my dad,” Simmons said. “From that, you just know things will get better and time heals. Every day, you’ve got to keep chugging along because time doesn’t stop. Michelle’s dad would have just loved it if she would keep playing and playing well. If it turns out we win a national championship, that would make him happy and it would make us happy.”

Wednesday, Saskatchewan takes on Heather Strong and her Newfoundland/Labrador rink in the afternoon before an evening match with Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones. The round robin concludes Thursday with matches against Prince Edward Island and Alberta.