By Woodard, Dale on March 21, 2020.
Much of it was spent watching from the sidelines, the past curling season brought many learning experiences for Casey Scheidegger.
After giving birth to her second second son, Ryker, in November, the skip for the Lethbridge Curling Club foursome of third Cary-Anne McTaggart, second Jessie Haughian and lead Kristie Moore was mostly in a spectator role this past winter.
With the Cheryl Bernard and Amber Holland ably filling in during her absence, Scheidegger finally made her season debut at the Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts In Okotoks at the end of January.
It didn’t quite play out the way the foursome wanted as Scheidegger went 2-5 in the round-robin to miss the playoff round.
“I wouldn’t say it was a disappointment, but it was definitely not the highlight of my curling career,” said Scheidegger, who was cleared to play Jan. 6. “We’re a little bit sad not to do a little bit better. Obviously, making playoffs was a big goal for us. We had our fate in our own hands and we just couldn’t pull through. So that was unfortunate. But reflecting on it, I think it’s difficult to come back after after having the baby and being away for the entire season. My first game of the season was my first game at provincials and in hindsight I think I would’ve liked a little bit more time to kind of get back into the swing of things. My body was just a little bit sore still and not quite ready to be back in action. That was a bit of a learning experience, and probably not something I’ll be doing again.”
But with McTaggart expecting this summer, Scheidegger will be able to draw from her own experience.
“It helped me to be able to pass that on to my teammates. Cary-Anne is due in July. So I think with my knowledge I can help her transition back into the game as well, which will be helpful for next year.”
The majority of the past winter was spent keeping tabs from the seats.
“It’s really hard to watch,” said Scheidegger. “With Cheryl skipping I knew they were in great hands. For me, I was trying to make the most of it and really turn it into a learning experience. But it’s really hard to sit behind the glass and watch her update the scores when they were at Grand Slams and things like that. So it was definitely a different experience and one that I’m not eager to repeat.”
Scheidegger appreciated the support of her team in her absence.
“I know having a baby in November isn’t the most ideal for the curling season,” she said.
“But my husband (Duncan) and I were at point in our lives where we weren’t planning around the curling season. We just knew we wanted to have a second child so we let the chips fall where they may and it happened that we were due in November. I’m very happy my team was so supportive. I think they were also able to turn it into a learning experience for them. I’m trying to make the most of the season.”
Scheidegger felt having Bernard and Holland filling in at skip was beneficial for her teammates.
“I think they learned a lot from them,” she said.
“That being said, I think they were a little bit disappointed that the season didn’t go a little bit better. I think reflecting on it we realize it might’ve been better to try and find a more consistent skip filling in for me to keep things the same. I think we learned something in that regard as well.”
As the new family additions arrive, the Scheidegger rink will return to original form the fall.
“We’ve been together the last four-plus years and we really enjoy curling with each other and we still feel like we have more to do,” said Scheidegger.
“Our goals are all aligned and the amount we want to play is all aligned. We still really enjoy each other’s company. So we’re not ready to make any changes.”
Other teams around Canada, however, were.
Earlier this month Rachel Homan and her Ottawa rink announced they were parting ways with lead Lisa Weagle.
Homan replaced Weagle with Sarah Wilkes, who was Chelsea Carey’s vice the last two seasons.
Weagle wasn’t without a rink for long, joining Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones earlier this week.
Meanwhile, John Morris joined Calgary’s Kevin Koe, replacing Colton Flasch.
“I was a little bit surprised to see the amount of changes that were being made,” said Scheidegger.
“But this is probably the year to do it if teams are making changes, especially if their goals are to make it to the Olympic trials. As long as they keep a core of three players. For Rachel for example, she already has a trial spot as long as she keeps her three core players, she maintains her spot. If they were going to make changes, this is the time to do it. I was surprised to see the amount of changes being made, but I wasn’t on tour this year so I don’t have that look as to how things were going.
“But curling can be a funny sport, too. You spend a lot of time with three other people and sometimes there can be an expiry date on that relationship. Chemistry is really important. You might like somebody and really value their friendship, but sometimes it just doesn’t work on the ice.”
As the COVID-19 virus continues to shut down leagues and sports world-wide, the Scheidegger rink will make the necessary adjustments in the off-season and see what happens next.
“We were hoping to get together in April, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen anymore, just to sit down and kind of plan our season out,” said Scheidegger. “With today’s technology we’re lucky to have video conferencing. So we’ll probably end up having to do that instead of meeting in person. It’s not as beneficial, but we’ll make it work and then it’s just back to training, which I guess there will be some adjustments to that, too. Instead of being at a gym we’ll do at-home workouts which is a little bit different, but we’ll make it work.”
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