Joanne Courtney in action at the Princess Auto Elite 10, Sept. 2018, in Chatham-Kent, Ont. (Anil Mungal)

Courtney: Curling is all in the family

October 24, 2018, 3:40 PM

I can’t believe we’re already a few months into the season.

The schedule has been jam-packed from the start with team training camps and events. We also hosted the annual Team Homan Junior Curling Camp at our home club in late September.

We’re already into the second Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event of the season after a really exciting debut to the series in Chatham-Kent in front of a supportive Ontario crowd. Most recently I had the chance to compete in the Sherwood Park Mixed Doubles Classic.

When we sat down to plan our busy season, I quickly realized that I would be in a bit of a bind when it came to my mixed doubles curling commitments because Reid Carruthers (my regular partner) was also taking on several bonspiels with his new squad. Reid and I had a tough time finding a weekend where we were both off and available to play in a mixed doubles event.

Given the fact that we’re both required to play in two mixed doubles events in order to be eligible for an auto-berth to nationals in March — since we placed in the top four last year — I started to search for a spare. Thankfully I didn’t have to look very far because my dad, Ryan Taylor, was available.

This wasn’t his first time playing mixed doubles; He stepped in a few years ago in Kimberley, B.C. when Carruthers couldn’t make it. We decided to play in Sherwood Park not only because it meant we could stay at home, but also because he played in the Sherwood Park Tuesday night men’s league for a number of years and I figured his intel on rocks and ice would be indispensable!

The choice paid off with a semifinal finish and I can only assume that Ryan Taylor has officially lost his amateur status.

Before we started play in the Canadian Beef Masters I reflected on my mixed doubles experience with my dad and I felt deep appreciation for just how unique the sport of curling is.

I don’t think many elite-level athletes get the opportunity to compete alongside a family member in a tour event, especially with a parent. I had so much fun on the ice and am so grateful that my dad was willing to play.

Needless to say, Carruthers may be feeling a little bit of pressure as we head to Portage la Prairie, Man., in a few weeks!