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Throwing rocks helped Emily Matthews stay focused on life in the north

Emily Matthews lines up a shot for Team Yukon in a round-robin game against Team Ontario Tuesday night at the 2017 national junior women’s curling championship in Victoria, B. C. Matthews grew up in Corner Brook, but has lived in the north since she was six years old.
Emily Matthews lines up a shot for Team Yukon in a round-robin game against Team Ontario Tuesday night at the 2017 national junior women’s curling championship in Victoria, B. C. Matthews grew up in Corner Brook, but has lived in the north since she was six years old.

Growing up in the north throwing rocks in a cold arena provided Emily Matthews with an outlet to stay away from alcohol and drugs while trying to keep active in a land of limited opportunities.

Matthews, 17-year-old daughter of Corner Brook’s James Matthews and Deer Lake’s Sonya Parsons, is the third for Team Yukon at the 2017 national junior women’s curling championships being staged this week in Victoria, B. C.

Matthews was born in Corner Brook, but at the age of six her parents decided to move to Iqaluit, Nunavut for work purposes and she’s now participating in her fourth national junior curling tournament, this year the second time for Team Yukon after representing Team Nunvavut on the two previous occasions.

Matthews formed a friendship with Iqaluit’s Matilda Pinksen shortly after arriving in the north. Pinksen was curling on Monday nights so Matthews figured it would be fun to join her.

The curling rink became a safe haven for her as she became a teenager because she started to see first-hand the issues with drugs and alcohol present in communities in the north.

She was presented with a chance to experiment in drugs, but had no problem saying no because she was focused on better things in life.

She spent half a year with her dad in Ontario and also spent a short time in Whitehorse and saw people struggle to stay away from drugs, so she knows youth all over the place face peer pressure.

“I think you just need to find your passion and something that would kind of like trump all other things like that and curling was that for me,” she said.

It’s not about winning or losing for Matthews. It’s all about having fun doing something you love with a great group of girls.

She knows the field is a tough one to crack with so many experienced curlers lining up against her team, but she focuses on being her best on that day and never worries about the scoreboard.

This is one girl who will never have to worry about getting a scolding for throwing rocks.

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