Winnipeg 2013: Athlete Support Inc.

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Wild on ice, wild in the seats

Up and down, over and over, game after game for Nicole Kennedy

Up and down, game after game for Nicole Kennedy

By Colin Hodgson

WINNIPEG – What a joy it must be, you might think, to sit with the wife of Team Kevin Martin second man Marc Kennedy during the Olympic Trials, right?

You would be WRONG, unless you enjoy extreme stress, a roller-coaster of emotional collapse and triumphant fist-pumps... as illustrated by these photos by TCN shooter Anil Mungal (click on images at left to increase viewing size).

And given the insanity of last night's on-ice mayhem – which included K-Mart scoring four in the ninth end and stealing the 10th to beat Glenn Howard against massive mathematical odds – I must say there was quite a show going on in the seats.

What a ride it must be for this native Nova Scotian. She has been a part of Brier championships, World championships, Olympic Winter Games – on home soil – and most stressful of all, the Canadian Olympic Trials. Don’t you dare say she isn’t part of it.

Marc Kennedy (left) brushes vs Howard

Marc Kennedy (left) sweeps against Howard

The stress a family member undergoes when watching loved ones play for their dreams is utterly unbearable. I myself have put my loved ones in this place before, and it’s not a fun place to have them.

“I feel helpless,” says Nicole. “Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t marry a banker that worked nine to five. I look around and feel the excitement and get the kindest curling fans in my section, like always. They calm me down and chat me through the situation and I understand how having a banker would be so boring!”

It’s a fact – family members have it tough. Watching the people closest to them realize their dreams – or falter in their efforts – is never an “even keel” feeling. How do the better halves of top curlers deal with events like this?

“I feel like it’s mine too,” says Nicole. “I certainly will never stand on a podium, so it is the next best thing. It’s wonderful, the sacrifices our family makes feel like they are worth something.

“Marc is an awesome daddy, and this is something he can share with his girls forever. I am so proud of what he has accomplished. For how hard he works and how much he puts in, he deserves great things. The Vancouver Olympics were a dream come true for him and for our family.”

So... is the sacrifice worth the hardship?

“Always.”

[Canadian Curling Association action photo copyright ® by Michael Burns]