Calgary gals shoeing the way

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

In the old days of curling, with the men, the expression was, "Win or lose, stick with the booze."

In the modern days, with the women, it may become: "Win or lose, stick with the shoes."

Shannon Kleibrink made the match for tonight's all-Calgary Roar of the Rings final against Cheryl Bernard one set of shoes at a time.

Well, sort of.

When this started, Kleibrink and third Amy Nixon went shopping for shoes.

"We only allowed ourselves one pair," said Nixon.

"We always do better when there's something on the line," said Kleibrink.

They won their next game.

So that meant more trips to the shoe store.

By yesterday, while Krista McCarville and her Northern Ontario team were playing a pair of tie-breakers, the entire Kleibrink team had bought in to the shoe fetish and was out shopping for footwear.

"I got a pair of hot pink boots," said Nixon. "They look really good.

"Awesome black heels," said Kleibrink.

"We were all in today," second Bronwen Webster said of joining the shoe crew, along with lead Chelsey Bell.

"Tartan purple dress shoes," said Webster.

"Nice black boots," said Bell. "I'm going to have to buy another pair just like them today.

"I don't think I needed the motivation. But if it works ..."

The shoes are an OK angle for a women's curling column. But Krista McCarville winning three games on one day to get to the final would have been a better story.

The Thunder Bay team out of the Fort William Curling Club featuring a 27-year-old skip and a 53-year-old lead, was wonderful.

When McCarville hit for three to make it 5-5 in the seventh, suddenly there was the thought of one of the greatest stories in Olympic curling history -- better even than Brad Gushue's Newfoundlanders four years ago.

But Kleibrink's babies needed another new set of shoes.

They scored five on the next end.

"What a see-saw affair," Nixon said of the goofy game.

"That was an awesome shot," Kleibrink said of McCarvlle's hit for three on the seventh end to tie the game 5-5.

But she said she was surprised to see her go for the gusto again the next end.

"She really went for it on the eighth; I thought she'd be a little more conservative," added the skip.

"She was all in on the eighth and got caught on it," said Nixon of going from tied to handshakes with the five-ender.

The win marked the third time Kleibrink has made it to the finals.

She lost to Sandra Schmirler in 1997 and defeated Kelly Scott four years ago.

"Three trials, three finals. That's not bad. Won one. Lost one.

"Right now we're just happy to be in it," she said.

And she's happy to be going as the semifinal winner instead of the firstplace team with the bye.

"I always said the team that played in the semifinal definitely has the advantage because they played the night before."

For accountant Kleibrink, 41, and lawyer Nixon, 32, it's a chance to get back to the Olympics after winning bronze at Torino in 2006.

For recruiter Webster, 31, and dietitian Bell, 27, it's about getting there once.

"It's hard to believe we're only 10 ends away from going," said Webster.

"I'm not thinking about being one win away," said Nixon.

You should know that there's a Kevin Martin-Randy Ferbey thing going on between the two Calgary teams.

Like Martin has owned Ferbey of late, the same holds true with Bernard owning Kleibrink.

They've won the last five and eight of the last 10.

"I don't need to know that. I don't care," said Nixon.

Kleibrink claimed not to know that stat.

"Maybe we're due," she said.

"They play well against us. When they play us they are on fire. We know we have to bring our 'A' game."

And the shoes.

Win or lose, stick with the shoes.

"The good news is that a team from Calgary is going to the Olympics," said Kleibrink.

"How exciting is that?"

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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