Sports and I go way back. Watching, playing, cheering – I’ve always wanted to play every sport. As a kid I swam, tried gymnastics, ran cross-country, played basketball, baseball, softball, diving, golf, and tennis. Luckily, my mom and dad added curling to the list when I was 10 years old. I learned to curl at Exmoor Country Club – it’s where I practice and play to this day.
Curling has given me much throughout the years – great challenges, friendships, mentors… The most amazing gift - I met my husband, Sean Silver, while curling. We live a pretty quiet, happy life in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago. We share the space with our dog, Emma. Emma is a Goldendoodle – she’s incredibly fluffy and looks like a Muppet – or a man in a dog suit.
I’ve been lucky to know some amazing people. Far and away the best are my parents, Nancy and Bill Swisshelm. The hard work, dedication and sense of humor that they have demonstrated in every aspect of their life has taught me well. Their unwavering support of me and of my team’s quest for gold has been invaluable. No matter what happens on the ice, they believe in me. It has made my successes greater and the defeats lessons – not failures. My parents are great supporters of the game of curling. They have attended every U.S. National Championship since 1996.
What’s so great about curling? Curling is a non-interference Team sport. The sport has a unique structure that encourages true teamwork without direct influence from competitors or officials. It’s about what you and your Team can do with moment given. Curling requires stamina, the ability to shift from a high-powered throw to a delicate touch shot, mastery of complicated strategy, and the capacity to communicate unfailingly with your teammates.
On Curling and Football: Tragically, these Seasons happen concurrently. Our Team is wholly populated with NFC North fans. Bears, Packers and Vikings are represented. The only thing we agree on is the Lions. We don’t like them. At all. And, GO BEARS!
On being a competitive athlete at age 45: It’s about paying attention to your body, training smarter because harder is not an option, and knowing that your mental game can best a younger opponents physical one. Also, my go-to recovery drink makes a difference – there’s nothing like chocolate milk to help you feel like a kid.
Random amusements: Cooking is my main creative outlet. I read lots of cookbooks cover to cover. Wander the great Chicago markets. Grab whatever inspires me. Come home and proceed to use every dish, knife, pot, pan, utensil, etc. available to me while creating dinner. Our poorly placed fire alarm often signals when dinner is ready.
Mostly, I like movies that are funny or (at minimum) have a happy ending. Here’s some movies that I never tire of watching; Caddyshack, Bull Durham, Breakfast Club, Blazing Saddles, Star Wars, Dodgeball. I believe that A Knight’s Tale should be listed under Sports Movies.
I’ll read most anything. The Count if Monte Cristo is at the top of my list – it’s a beautifully written action-adventure tale. And, American humorist James Thurber’s stories are second to none – try If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox.
My dream foursome is Bill Murray, Charles Barkley and Toby Keith. I’d like Stacey King and Eddie Olczyk to commentate or caddy.
Lastly… Chicago girl + athlete = CHICAGO SPORTS FAN! I love my Bears, Bulls, Hawks and Cubs. I watch as many games as possible. I am an active fan – stat checking, play calling, hand wringing. There’s lots of cheering, shouting, and, at times, some tears. There is no fair weather. There are no bandwagons. I am always, always cheering.”