While most people were still engaged in summer pursuits in August, Sherry Middaugh was already in full curling mode.
With the delicious notion of representing Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler dangling in front of her, the skip and her team from the Coldwater and District Curling Club hit the ice early this year.
“This is … the most work we’ve put in this early in the season,” Middaugh said from her Victoria Harbour home.
Heading toward their first major event of the season this weekend in Regina, Middaugh said she and her teammates are feeling upbeat.
“We’re feeling good,” she said. “With the Olympic pre-trials coming up, we’re trying not to put too much pressure on ourselves.”
The Coldwater rink competed at the OCT Championships in Oakville earlier this month. Despite losing its opening two games, the team rebounded with two consecutive victories to finish 2-2.
“We’ve also been competing in a summer league for the past six weeks, so each Wednesday I have been driving down to Oakville. We also did a training week in Edmonton in August,” said Middaugh.
From Sept. 25-28, the rink will be competing in Regina at the Schmirler Curling Classic.
Looming largest on their curling radar screen, however, is the Olympic curling pre-trials, scheduled for November in Prince George, B.C.
A win there would vault the foursome into the Olympic trials in Edmonton in December, one step from joining the Olympic gathering in February.
While the excitement leading up to the pre-trials is tangible, Middaugh said a lot of bonspiel curling is to be played before the team gets to the West Coast.
“Right now, we’re trying not to think too far ahead,” she said.
It will be a family affair in Prince George, as husband Wayne will be skipping his team on the men’s side of the draw.
The qualifying schedule, meanwhile, has created some conflicts, so the Middaugh rink will have to forgo regional qualifying events and try and reach the Tournament of Hearts national championship via the always-tough challenge-round route.