Friday, February 15

Curling With A Heavy Heart

Saskatchewan skip Englot's father passes away

Murray McCormick, Leader-Post
Published: Friday, February 15, 2008

Saskatchewan's Michelle Englot will be playing at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts with a heavy heart.

The Canadian women's curling championship begins Saturday at the Brandt Centre. Joe Englot, Michelle's father, died Friday at the family farm in Montmartre. He was 74.

"It's not as if he wasn't healthy but he told my mother (Norma) that if anything happened to him to tell Michelle to curl," Englot said Friday. "That's what I'm going to do and I'm going to do it for him. I know he wouldn't have wanted me to not play. I'll do it with him in my heart."

Michelle Englot, 44, made the 90-kilometre drive to Montmartre to be with family members Friday. She returned to Brandt Centre in time for Friday's 10 a.m. practice sessions. Englot also took part in the Ford Hot Shots competition before meeting with the media to discuss her father's unexpected death.

"He went to the doctor (Thursday) because he was having some chest pains," said Englot, who is curling with Darlene Kidd, Roberta Materi and Cindy Simmons. "He told him to lose some weight, go home and you'll feel better."

Englot didn't give much thought to backing out of the Scotties. She said she would draw upon the support of her teammates, family and friends to make it through the week.

"I'll use his strength and I'll be fine," Englot said. "(Friday) night will be a bit of a letdown. We'll regroup and come out strong (Saturday)."

Englot watched her teams throw rocks while sitting on the bumper behind the sheet. She looked stoic and composed and was even seen laughing with her teammates. Englot's 17-year-old son, Derek arrived Friday afternoon and the two shared a long embrace.

It's the first opportunity that Englot has had to play in the Scotties as the hometown team. The proximity of Regina to Montmartre was one of the reasons Englot felt that she could continue.

"I wouldn't have stayed if we were in some other part of the country," Englot said. "It's a blessing that we are at home. I feel that I can still play because all of my family and friends are here. I wouldn't have had that if had been across the country."

Joe Englot is survived by his wife, Norma, and children Mallory, Michelle, Nissa and Norman and numerous grandchildren. Funeral services are pending.

The Scotties runs through Feb. 24.
© Leader-Post 2008