When I watched Brad Jacobs, Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden and Ryan Harnden receive their medals today, I couldn’t help but think about what a stunning and awe-inspiring journey it’s been for the boys from the Soo.
In Vancouver four years ago, I don’t think many people would have figured that this rink would be representing Canada let alone winning gold. And to me, that’s what makes this so special. Their story really is what the Olympics are all about.
Hard work. Dedication. Commitment and sacrifice.
All those sound cliché and over-used when you talk about the Olympics. But for these guys, it just really fits. A lot of players in our game work hard, but I’m not sure how many put in the effort these guys did over the last four years. It’s been a long, tough road.
And coming from Northern Ontario, the resources to become a champion curler aren’t plentiful. I remember talking to them a few years back when they didn’t have enough money to travel to all the Grand Slam events. They knew they had to play in those big games to get better, to improve.
Somehow, they managed to beg, borrow and steal (well maybe not steal) to play the Tour and get to the Brier.
I always thought they were great curlers and a very solid team, but it was probably the addition of Ryan Fry that put them over the top. I think he really allowed them to believe they could be world class, that they could beat anybody when they had their best stuff. I’m not sure if they realized how good they were before he arrived.
Even winning the Brier, however, wasn’t good enough to get to the Trials. They had to make it through the pre-Trials and the Trials and then the Olympics. That’s just amazing when you look back at it.
What a journey. What a trip. What a wonderful achievement to a great group of guys.