CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — So where had the real Cathy O and crew been hiding all this time?
That’s the question the members of Team Manitoba will be asking of themselves in the weeks and months after the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
After looking like one of the worst teams in the field for the better part of four days, Cathy Overton-Clapham’s foursome played the role of giant-killer on Wednesday, knocking off Ontario’s Rachel Homan in the afternoon, defending champion Jennifer Jones and Team Canada at night.
When all is said and done, perhaps Cathy O’s biggest problem here was the schedule.
“I wish we would have played this game on Saturday,” she said after polishing off Jones. “Maybe it could have set the tone for the week. Because that team out there, Team Manitoba, hasn’t been here, yet. Hopefully we can play like that (Thursday) and finish off the week.”
At 3-6, the playoffs are out of the question.
But questions will remain about why the entire team played so shabbily the first several games.
Perhaps they let the whole Jones affair become a distraction.
Overton-Clapham’s rink played one early game it could easily have won, against B.C. And that seemed to set them all off kilter, until Wednesday, when the skip turned in a blistering performance to lead a solid 80% team effort.
Perhaps it was the incredible crowd, which gave Cathy O a standing ovation at the five-end break and again when it was over?
“You could totally use the crowd to your advantage,” she said. “There were some great shots made that kept them in the game. It wouldn’t have been a lot of fun if it was a blowout, if we didn’t play well.”
Pride can be a great motivator. And the pride of one of Manitoba’s best-ever players had been hurt this week.
Cathy O has always been known as a clutch player, and in that respect you could say she came through under the brightest of lights. It was, after all, one of the most anticipated games in memory.
“I want to ask TSN for our cut in the viewer audience,” she said, grinning a grin that was all too rare here this week.