Between the Sheets: Twenty years from now, the memories will be important

There is a time of year in all sports when team break ups, line up changes and player movement begins.And as the Scott Tournament of Hearts came to a close last weekend – that time began for women’s curling (the men are delayed by a couple weeks). And with those team changes come disappointment for some and excitement for others. I don’t think anyone has perfected team break ups, and I am not sure there is any sure fire way to “do it right”. But I will say our 2010 Olympic Silver medal team handled our dissolution the best way we knew how. That doesn’t speak as much for the ‘how” we did it but more to the “who” did it and the class and maturity of each of the team members. But I will first address: Why did our team, after so much success, chose to go our own ways? The answer is really in the question. Because we had so much success, because we put 6 years of our lives on hold- we decided that to try and bottle what we had, and do it all over again for another Olympic run would most likely end in disappointment. And after the success that we all had together and the unbelievable friendships we made while enjoying that success – we didn’t want to taint it. Many teams do try and go on and do have some success staying together – but we looked at our specific situation and decided to preserve this 2010 Olympic Silver medal team as is. Our time together was too special to end it with disappointment. And we talked about this being our last season together, all this year. We each seemed to know it was the best thing to do for all involved. There is just so much respect for each other and we wanted to do this as we had done everything on our team, with consideration. If we thought we could all stay the same, then I think we may have given it another run. Its like that perfect many pieces had to fall into place to create it – I am not sure it would be possible to re-create. And had we continued, all of us would of expected the same thing from each other and there is no way each of us could give that again. Its kind of like going back and dating that person you dated 10 years ago…you cant start fresh..its impossible, there has to be some history and preconceived expectations. So most likely we will have a better chance of success (whatever each of us defines that as) in a new situation, because there are no expectations…we will each (if we choose to go on) be starting fresh with a new line up. And each of us deserved the time to step away from this team and make our future decision without the pressure of “the team”. I don’t profess to know the right way to handle team break ups and player changes. And I have played this game for a long time and someone is always disappointed. The only advice I might ever give is to never assume anything. Have an agreed one year anniversary and sit down on that date at the end of each season and make sure everyone is getting what they need on the team, that the team is meeting their expectations and that each team member is pulling their weight.

Team Canada

It has to be honest and open. Its similar to an annual review at work. And maybe a lot of relationships should try this method. Sit down once a year, or every 6 months and just make sure each party thinks that this team, marriage or employment is achieving its purpose. If its not ? Well then I am not sure why anyone would want to be employed, married or on a team when the other party (or parties) did not feel the same way. Get out, move on and find success elsewhere. But I think in the end it has to come down to respect and friendship. I don’t believe it has to ruin relationships – not if there was one there in the first place. As long as you are up front, honest, there may be hurt for a short time, but how you did it will always be remembered and precious friendships will be preserved. Our team said this to each other, the night we made our final decision to dissolve at the end of this season. That for the next 20 years, we ALWAYS wanted to be able to go our for dinner or a coffee and be able to share the incredible time we had. How sad would it be if we couldn’t at least have that. Because there are only 4 other people in the world (Coach Dennis was also there) that shared all the unbelievable experiences we had – and none of us want to lose that. Our last event will be tough for all of us – but it will be another amazing memory that only we can share over a great glass of wine or two!