Back to reclaim her crown

TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

Diane Foster was queen of the curling world two years ago.

Then, her personal world fell apart.

But the 2008 senior women's winner -- at the provincial, national and global level -- is feeling the resolve to champion again without the worries and heartbreak that kept her from defending the trio of titles last season.

"I was anxious to get back at it this year," said Foster, a veteran skip on the Alberta scene. "I didn't curl very much last year. I was without any real ambition. I didn't want to take the time -- I didn't practise enough or do enough curling to make anything happen."

For good reason. Last year was a devastating one for the Calgary Winter Club curler. A heart attack claimed the life of her mother, and Foster's sister succumbed to cancer.

Because of those personal tragedies, her motivation to curl -- obviously -- took a huge hit.

But she's back in 2010 with a vengeance, already boasting the Alberta senior women's crown after a successful run at the Edmonton-hosted provincials late last month along with third Karen Morrison, second Barb McDonald and lead Louise Sheehan.

"This year, it's better," Foster said of her passion for curling. "And this team is very committed and very good.

"We're all sports people. We work out and stay in shape, and we're young in mind. And we think the same way, too."

These days, Foster & Co. are thinking how to go about capturing the national banner, as the Calgary foursome takes its talents to the Canadian senior curling championships, beginning Saturday in Ottawa.

"You always want to take it one game at a time," said Foster, whose crew went undefeated at the provincial event. "But we're going to the Canadians with the idea we can win it all.

"Two years ago (skipping a team from Lethbridge), we ran the tables at provincials -- like we did this year," she continued. "And in '08, we lost once at nationals (before winning the championship and eventually the world title).

"But just like then, it's going to be a tough field. We have to go there wanting it."

Her focus stems from spending time with sports psychologist Lisa Brown, a performance-enhancing guru.

After all, success for Foster didn't come this easy in her younger years -- she only attended two Scotties as a fifth under Lil Werenka back in 1986 and '88.

"I wasn't really excited about turning 50 and playing in seniors," added the 53-year-old Foster. "But, wow, I found out the competition is as good as women's. I didn't realize seniors was as competitive as it is."

EXTRA ENDS

In case you missed it, the Edmonton-based Kevin Koe rink won the Tim Hortons Brier in thrilling fashion last weekend, beating Ontario's Glenn Howard with a draw to the button in an extra end. They're off to the world championship April 3-13 in Cortina, Italy ... Edmonton's Mark Johnson will represent Alberta on the men's side of the 2010 Canadian Senior Curling Championships. Johnson skips the rink of third Marv Wirth, second Ken McLean and lead Millard Evans -- the same group legendary Pat Ryan won provincials, nationals and worlds with in 2008.

LAST ROCK

The bantam southerns go Friday-Sunday at Garrison Curling Club. The 16-team event, including Okotoks' Kyler Kleibrink, Nanton's Jeremy Harty and Calgarians Tianna Yablonski, Tyler Lautner, Spencer Higgs, Keegan Linwood and James Keats, will crown a champion at 4 p.m. Sunday. The Dominion Club Southern Championship runs Friday-Sunday at the Acadia Recreation Centre, with winners in each category advancing to provincials next fall.

TODD.SAELHOF@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos