There’s no easy way to lose.
It’s no different if you have a good week and lose it all in one final game, or you start out mediocre and scratch and claw your way to have a shot at the final, only to miss it.
That second scenario was my team’s experience at Olympic trials last month in Fargo, N.D. All I can say is, losing is really hard.
But there are many of us who don’t make it on to the next level. We are the ones who quietly go back to our day jobs, filling up our coffee mugs and answering meeting requests for the week ahead. We empty our suitcases and load up the washing machine while we repack our duffel bags with regular curling gear (not the U.S.-branded) for a recreational league on Tuesday nights.
Nothing can prepare you for that loss -- it’s part of the process. You have to accept that there is the “other” side of winning. It’s not a terrible thing. Even if you’ve lost, you at least had the opportunity. To take full advantage by giving it your all is how you become better.
So I guess you can’t lose, really.
My team had a wonderful week at Olympic trials. But it just wasn’t our week. We started with an extremely close first game, my first 12-ender (usually games are eight or 10 ends; an “end” is when both teams have thrown all eight stones). We lost, though, and followed it with three more losses.
After each game, we sat down with our coach and discussed our performance. Always, we knew exactly which shots and strategy calls gave us momentum and which ones put us in more difficult situations. We were able to finish the week with two solid wins, but it wasn’t enough to win the trials and be the team that moves on to the Olympics.
What’s next? I’m excited to watch curling in the Olympics again.
Team Brown (Erika Brown, Debbie McCormick, Jessica Schultz and Ann Swisshelm) will be a great representative for USA, and I hope we see a U.S. men’s team in Sochi, too. They’re currently competing in the Olympic Qualifying Event in Fussen, Germany, for their Olympic spot.
As for the next Olympics, it's too soon to for me to decide. For now, my plans are to put more of my time towards my family. Right now, we're busy getting ready for the holidays and and then I’m looking forward to hosting an opening ceremonies party at home and snuggling with my 9-month-old little girl while we cheer on the entire Team USA.