This week’s female Athlete of the Week is Marie Wright of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
Birthdate: May 9, 1960
Birthplace: Oxbow, Sask.
Hometown: Moose Jaw, Sask.
Curling Club: Hillcrest Curling Club
Current Team: Team Bender
Getting to know Marie Wright
It didn’t take Marie Wright long to figure out that she’d found her niche in wheelchair sports.
She had spent the better part of two decades overcoming her injury — she was left a paraplegic as the result of a 1988 motor vehicle accident — while raising four daughters as a single parent.
Then, in 2008, she decided to give curling a try.
Just a few months later, Wright was donning a Saskatchewan provincial jacket and playing at the TSX Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship in Lower Sackville, N.S. It was the first time Saskatchewan had been represented at the wheelchair nationals, and Wright tossed second stones for the Saskatchewan squad, that included Del Huber, Darwin Bender and Gil Dash, and finished with a more-than respectable 4-5 record.
A year later, the same team defended its Saskatchewan championship and curled at the TMX Canadian championship in Kelowna, B.C., and posted the same 4-5 record.
Since taking up curling, Wright has embraced the sport on and off the ice. She achieved her Level 1 Officiation certification, and volunteered at the 2010 Saskatchewan Winter Games curling competition as a timer.
Quick Hits with Marie Wright
Do you have any superstitions?
“No, although I like to read Chinese fortune cookies and, of course, hope that some of them will come true!”
Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party.
“Let me see, if I was able to pick anyone at all, I would pick Darian Durant, quarterback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders; Denzel Washington, as he is my favourite actor; and, of course, my very best friend, whom I met through curling, Lloyd!”
If you could be a star any other sport, what would it be, and why?
“I would be a star in hockey! Before my injury I was a goaltender, and that is the sport I miss the most! Even though goalies must be crazy to have pucks shot at their head, I loved it! My mom thought I must have lost all my marbles!”
If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why?
“I think I would change sweeping — I guess because as a wheelchair curler we get no sweeping so have to be very accurate with both weight and hitting the broom! The sweeping can take a rock at least three feet further!”
What music do you like to listen to before a game?
“Oh, this one is so easy! I listen to the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” cause, of course, I always tell my teammates, ‘Tonight’s going to be a good, good night!’ when we win!”
— Website? “Facebook!”
— Order from Tim Hortons? “Steeped tea, with one cream and one sugar! Nothing better than that!”
— Vacation destination? Florida, Disney World and Kennedy Space Center.” The best Walt Disney World vacation packages would include both.
— Junk food? “Barbecue chips!”
Do you have any pet peeves?
“My biggest pet peeve would have to be people who are late. I hate being late for anything!”
Three things you always travel with?
“I always travel with my cell phone, my debit card and my heating pad as I always freeze at night. Some days I would like to chuck the cell phone, though!”
First thing on your Bucket List?
“The first thing would be to sit with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on the bench during a game!”
Favourite pastime between draws at cashspiels? Cards (which game?), TV, napping?
“Grabbing a snack and then going to a quiet place with my teammates to play Fire, which is a card game Coach Lorraine taught us. We learned quick that we always have to go by coaches’ rules and you never know when they might change!”
One thing most people don’t know about you?
“Most people don’t know that I am actually a shy person! My friends don’t believe that at all! When I’m with them, I really don’t shut up, but if I’m in a crowd I don’t know, I would be quiet. And I’m not a very good public speaker!”
What is the biggest misconception about curlers?
“The biggest misconception is that people don’t see curlers as athletes! They don’t think there is any training involved! People think curlers just get up off the couch, step on the ice and that’s it. Actually, in the off-season there is a lot of training involved to keep up your strength!”
Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal:
“My ideal shot would be a double take-out to sit lying three!”