Featured Athlete: Tammy Schneider

Even though Tammy Schneider has been blessed to play for one of the finest women’s curling teams on the planet, she stays true to her small-town curling roots.

Tammy Schneider in action at the 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts with Team Saskatchewan (Photo Andrew Klaver)

The second for Amber Holland’s reigning Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian championship foursome is a long-time volunteer at her hometown curling club in Kronau, Sask. She helps with maintaining the ice, bartending and even works in the kitchen on occasion — one of the thousands of people who keep the sport going in small towns across the country. So it’s no wonder that there was such a feel-good vibe that accompanied the Holland foursome’s victory at the Scotties last February in Charlottetown. Holland, third Kim Schneider (Tammy’s sister), lead Heather Kalenchuk, alternate Jolene Campbell and coach Merv Fonger had put in their time in countless cashspiels and playdowns. They’d had a breakthrough year in 2007-08, winning the Players’ Championship, then followed up with a fourth-place finish at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials in Edmonton in December 2009, and a Saskatchewan Scotties championship a few weeks later. But they took the biggest step of all in Charlottetown, claiming the Canadian women’s championship with a win over Jennifer Jones’s three-time defending champions from Winnipeg, with Tammy Schneider earning second-team all-star honours in the process. As Team Canada, the Holland foursome went on to capture a silver medal at the world women’s championship in Denmark, and will be playing this year at the Capital One Canada Cup Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 in Cranbrook, B.C., the World Financial Group Continental Cup Jan. 12 to 15 in Langley, B.C., and the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Feb. 18 to 26 in Red Deer, Alta. Birthplace: Regina Hometown: Kronau, Sask. Curling Club: Kronau Curling Club Current Team: Team Amber Holland Position: Second Delivery: Right Nickname: Tam Quick Hits with Tammy Schneider Do you have any superstitions? “I don’t really have any superstitions but I tend to do the same thing before every game. I listen to music, meet with our coach, do a warmup and stretch, and then a take a minute to focus before the game.” Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party. “Grandma Schneider, Grandpa Schneider and Grandpa Ell so that they could enjoy the successes our team has shared in the last year.” If you could be a star in any other sport, what would it be, and why? “Tennis. The game is mentally challenging as well as very physically demanding.” If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why? “I would like to see all events go to eight ends. It makes the games more interesting from start to finish.” What music do you like to listen to before a game? “Hedley, Marianas Trench, any new dance music.” Favourite: — Website? “www.tsn.ca. I check it every morning when I get to work.” — Order from Tim Hortons? “Medium iced coffee.” — Vacation destination? “Hawaii.” — Junk food? “Chips and dip.” Do you have any pet peeves? “Bad drivers. People need to pay attention when they are driving.” Person who had the most influence on your curling career? And why? “My dad and my three uncles had the most influence on my curling career. From a very young age, my family would travel around with the team and watch. I have always been able to sit down with my dad and talk about curling with him. It has helped me learn about the game from a different perspective.” First thing on your Bucket List? “Well, it used to be winning the Scotties but that got crossed off last season, so now I would say it has to be take a vacation that has nothing to do with curling.” Favourite pastime between draws at cashspiels? “Napping, watching TLC, reading.” Mixed doubles in the Olympics — thumbs up? Thumbs down? And why? “I have mixed feelings towards the mixed doubles being in the Olympics. It would give more athletes the opportunity to compete in the Olympics but it is still a relatively new concept for the sport of curling. I think it needs to be promoted more so that athletes and fans can understand the game.” One thing most people don’t know about you? “I like to sing but am afraid to sing in public.” Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal: “Probably sweeping Amber’s out-turn draw to the four-foot.”