November 25, 2008
Chyz his time for redemption
By TODD SAELHOF, SUN MEDIA
Forgive Brad Chyz for being torn between the emotion and the psychology of curling.
On one hand, it's not easy to forget a big-game defeat. But on the other, the Calgary curler recognizes the importance of putting behind the 10-1 provincial final loss of 10 months ago -- and he's getting the mental training to make that happen.
"Obviously, our goal is to win the provincial final to redeem ourselves from last year," said Chyz, looking forward to the junior men's playdowns beginning this Friday at the Glencoe Curling Club. "As long as we play our best, it'll get us where we need to be."
It is Chyz's final shot at a junior crown.
The 20-year-old curler and two of his teammates, third Scott Garnett and second Matt McDonald, are in their final year of junior eligibility, putting more pressure on scoring the Alberta title Jan. 11 in Camrose.
But this year, the Chestermere Curling Club rink, which includes holdover lead Michael Wendlandt, has an added weapon in its arsenal both on and off the ice.
That's Paul Webster, a sports psychologist from the National Training Centre at the Calgary Winter Club who has worked with the likes of Shannon Kleibrink.
Chyz and his team was chosen to work with Webster by the Calgary Youth Curling Association, which is funding the rink's participation in the program.
"A lot of the work we do with Paul is mental preparation -- not letting the negative of a shot or of a previous game get to you," Chyz said. "And we can't think about the future. We can't think about being in the provincial final. We can't think about it until that moment."
Still, redemption is in the back of their minds.
But if they have any doubts about the process Webster is instilling in their game, Chyz and Co. only need to recall last year's provincial final. While they struggled mightily in that last draw, fellow Calgarian Maria Bushell -- another National Training Centre success story -- was mere metres away on the same ice winning the junior women's crown.
A year earlier, Bushell lost in the provincial semifinals.
"I know we have just as good a chance this year as they had last year," Chyz said. "We've learned that even if we get first during the week, we still have to win that final. We can't take it for granted."
The first step is districts this weekend at the Glencoe.
Of 19 rinks, including contenders Kevin Yablonski (Calgary Curling Club), Michael Hauer (North Hill/Calgary Curling Club) and Carter Lautner (Calgary Winter Club), a dozen advance to Southerns Dec. 19-21 at the Acadia Recreation Complex.
"A lot of the teams at Southerns will be the same as last year," Chyz said. "Some teams we've lost to this year, so it'll be a battle. We gotta go through districts and Southerns first, so we've got a couple of things to focus on."
Before claiming the $1,000 top-spot prize in this past weekend's junior bonspiel in Gibbons, the rink played in a half-dozen spiels without winning an event.
"We won four bonspiels last year but lost the provincial final," Chyz said. "This year, it could be the other way around."
Charley Thomas of Didsbury paced the way for Chris Schille's Edmonton rink at the $50,000 Skookum WCT Cash Spiel in Whitehorse, Yukon. The team's 7-0 final Sunday over Seattle's Jason Larway earned it the $15,000 top prize. The finale capped off a solid week for the team, which went 4-1 in the roundrobin for a playoff berth in the World Curling Tour event ... Cheryl Bernard finished 3-3 and shy of the playoffs at the $47,000 SunLife Financial Invitiational Classic in Brantford, Ont.
This week's men's WCT event is the $60,000 PointOptical Curling Classic in Saskatoon, while the women vie for the $30,000 Boundary Ford Curling Classic in Lloydminster.