Sports

Tournament of Hearts will be totally different curling experience

Kesa Van Osch watches the progress of her rock during the final at the B.C. Scotties provincial curling championship. - Photo submitted
Kesa Van Osch watches the progress of her rock during the final at the B.C. Scotties provincial curling championship.
— image credit: Photo submitted

First came disbelief. But now curling skip Kesa Van Osch is starting to believe that what’s happening is real.

The 22-year-old from the Nanaimo Curling Centre is going to skip Team B.C. at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts the first week of February.

She’ll be in one of curling’s spotlight spiels, her every rock televised, analyzed and cheered.

“Playing at the Scotties will be nothing like any of us have ever done before,” Van Osch said. “It will definitely take some getting used to and some help from our coach and our support to get our heads in the game and stop standing there with our mouths open.”

Van Osch and her teammates Stephanie Baier, Jessie Sanderson and Carley Sandwith defeated veteran Kelly Scott 5-4 in the B.C. final earlier this month.

Even though the vet had the hammer going into the last end, Van Osch’s team felt comfortable based on their past success stealing game-winning points.

The Nanaimo skip made a great throw and her teammates “made it absolutely fabulous,” she said, forcing Scott to make a near impossible response.

“When you do the best you can, you say, ‘well, if they can make a better shot or as good a shot, then good for them. I’ve done my best.’ You’ve just got to kind of let it go,” Van Osch said.

After Scott’s last rock just missed, it took a moment for Van Osch to consider the implications.

“Disbelief was the first thing,” she said. “That we’d actually done one of our goals that we’ve all had as a curler.”

When Kesa Van Osch spoke to the Bulletin last week, she said the victory still hadn’t totally sunk in, but was starting to.

“After a win like this you’re like, ‘yeah, I belong here. This is what I do, this is where I need to be,’” she said. “It just reaffirms that you’re doing the right thing.”

The Van Osch team found instant success this year. The skip wasn’t able to pull together a competitive team for playdowns a year ago, but found the right mix of women this year.

“Everybody has the competitive edge to them, but everybody has a different personality and wants to do well for different reasons,” she said.

They have a little bit of time to wrap their heads around going to the Tournament of Hearts, which begins Feb. 1 in Montreal.

“There’s always room  to improve and get better,” Van Osch said. “I think in the next couple of weeks there’s definitely some work we can do, some small tweaking and some strategy that we can work on together.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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