It would be accurate to say they were more than glad just to be there. Nevertheless, you have to forgive Katie Follett and her St. John’s rinkmates for feeling some frustration after the opening day of play at the Canadian girls under-18 curling championship in Sherwood Park, Alta.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s representatives lost twice Tuesday — 7-6 to Alberta and 5-4 to Quebec — with both games decided in an extra end by stolen points.
As disappointing as that had to be, it was a far better scenario than what had been facing them a couple of days earlier — the distinct possibility they might have to forfeit the two games.
On Sunday, Follett, Sarah Chaytor, Felicity Snow, Rianna French and coach Roy Hodder experienced a delay on their flight from St. John’s to Toronto, causing them to miss a connecting flight to Edmonton.
What’s more, Joel Krats of Gander, skip of the N.L. men’s team at the national U1s, was travelling with them.
And to make it worse, the stranded travellers discovered they couldn’t get seats on any other flight to Edmonton until Tuesday afternoon, which would have meant they wouldn’t have made it to Sherwood Park in time to play either of their opening games.
But they did get standby tickets on a Sunday night flight to Calgary, and seats on that plane became available. Meanwhile, Jo MacGillvary, who had heard about their plight through Twitter, was waiting for the curlers in Calgary. MacGillvary, a director for Curling Alberta, transported the Newfoundlanders to Sherwood Park on a six-hour round trip.
Despite Tuesday’s results, Follett could say her teammate experience on Tuesday was more than memorable, considering all that transpired in getting to the competition.
“It was extra special for us because we thought for a minute that it was all going to be taken away,” she told Curling Canada.
The Follett rink plays British Columbia and the Northwest Territories today.
Krats and his team of Ethan Davidge, Jared Davidge and Aaron Feltham also lost twice Tuesday, to Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The Newfoundland male team, coached by Scott Davidge, take on Prince Edward Island and a second Alberta entry today.