The Sport I Love (4/9/13)

 
Delivering a stone during the 2013 USA Curling National Championships in Green Bay, Wis.

Our first medal, given to us for a fourth-place finish at 2001 junior
national championships in Rochester, N.Y.

Deb McCormick and I possibly discussing a great shot we just
swept during the 2011 Women’s World Curling Championship in
Esbjerg, Denmark
My 2012 and 2013 national team. We officially became Team USA at the
2013 nationals and solidified our spot at the 2013 U.S. Olympic Team
Trials for Curling in November 2013.

BY JESSICA SCHULTZ

Hello, world. This is my first official blog ever. As I sit in my kitchen, reflecting on my team’s bittersweet fourth place finish at the 2013 Women’s World Curling Championships in Riga, Latvia, I can’t help but be grateful for all the great adventures this sport has taken me on. I am privileged that the U.S. Olympic Committee has asked for me to take you along on some of our team’s journeys.

I’ll start off with a little background info. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. My family and I started curling when I was entering the seventh grade. It was our once-a-week family game night during the cold winter months. Although this wasn’t the “cool” sport to be a part of, I was definitely intrigued by it; however, it wasn’t until the following season, when I was asked to be one of the four members on a junior women’s team, that I really became interested in the sport. As a team, we were able to travel out of state to nationals in Waupaca, Wis. We finished in last place, but I was hooked.

Imagine my parents' surprise when I tried to explain to them that I was going to move to Duluth, Minn., when I graduated high school, not for college, but for curling.

Sitting on a plane, moving to a place I had never been to, where I had no family, and only a few friends I had met during juniors, is scarier looking back on it than it was when I was actually doing it. Little did I know about the world travels and the amazing, inspirational people I would meet along the way.

The Olympics had always seemed an intangible dream to me, especially since curling had just became an official sport in 1998. It wasn’t until the 2005 trials, playing in the extra end of the final, when it crashed into a reality. I remember having the shakes so bad I could hardly drink from my water bottle during a break between ends. We weren’t expected to win; we were the underdogs. Then there we were accepting our gold medals, and that was followed by a year to remember for a lifetime.

Fast-forward seven years and here I am writing to you as a 2014 Olympic hopeful. I am excited to write for you and even more excited to tell you more about the sport I love, and the team I love playing with.

I hope you will follow along with me and gain a little more insight on curling and the training I put in that has helped me reach this level.