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A mom’s perspective: Intense week for parents of junior curlers

Sherri McNeil-Lamswood’s neck and shoulders ached while she sat quietly watching a women’s game at the Pepsi Centre.

Sheri McNeil Lamswood takes in the Newfoundland and Labrador curling game Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 at the Corner Brook Curling Club. — Star photo by Geraldine Brophy

She was trying to relax, but her week has been pretty intense.

It’s no ordinary week for her.

Her son is Ryan McNeil-Lamswood of Stephenville, a 14-year-old, who is the third for the Newfoundland and Labrador men’s team at the 2015 M & M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships.

Her husband, Scott Lamswood, is the coach of the team. The Newfoundland and Labrador men’s team, with 18-year-old Greg Smith of St. John’s as skip, curls out of the Caribou Curling Club in Stephenville. Craig Laing, 16, and Kyle Barron, 18, are also members of the team.

The Newfoundland and Labrador team had only one win at this juncture. She felt the boys could have had a better record in their first five games, but they just couldn’t put together some key shots when they counted most.

She understands that the boys are a young team so she didn’t really expect them to compete with the bigger provinces. But, she also believes everybody in provincial curling circles shouldn’t be content with a team just being there.

She expected a better compete level from the boys.

“I want them to perform. I don’t care about the wins and losses, but I want them to do their best,” she said. “I think they need to represent, but sometimes that’s difficult, especially from a young person.”

“I think they could be better than that and they should be better than that,” she added, noting that a few wins slipped away from the team to push them to the  bottom of the pack and into the seeding pool.

She’s also aware that the level of competition on the national stage is impressive. The boys have only competed on the Atlantic curling level on one occasion, with the exception of skip Smith who has done it twice.

It’s at this level of curling that she hopes the team gets a better understanding of how tough it is to challenge the best in the country.

She said the boys play some teams and do well and think that’s as good as they can be. But, then they come face-to-face with teams like Manitoba and Quebec who have guys making some crazy shots on a consistent basis and they struggle.

She believes the only way to improve is to play stiffer competition and put in the practice time.

“They have  to put a lot of hours in and I don’t know if they recognize that until they get to compete at this level,” she said.

She hopes the experience, at a young age really when considering the team is still eligible for the junior bracket for another three years, serves as a motivation to take their game to another level because she feels the group has a lot of potential.

“It just gives you the opportunity to want it more. See how much you can get better,” she said. “So, I hope that they can be definitely inspired and learn a lot,” she said.

“You got to want it and you got to believe you can do it and be there,” she said.

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