Ryan and Sarah McNeil Lamswood found this out in a big way.
The two sibling curlers out of Stephenville entered a team in the provincial mixed doubles curling tournament earlier this year on home ice because they wanted to get in some extra practice to prepare them for their respective youth curling teams out of the Caribou Curling Club.
Now they are provincial champions heading to Saskatoon this month to represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2017 national mixed doubles curling tournament.
“We didn’t really think we were going to win, but we caught some fire and got going pretty good out there,” Ryan said. “We made a few good shots and ended up getting a couple of good breaks and managed to win it.”
Coached by their dad, Scott, they won the title with a 6-5 win over Kyle Barron, also a Stephenville native who goes to university in St. John’s, and Lauren Barron of St. John’s, who is unrelated.
They didn’t take the easy route.
They finished 3-3 in the four-team round-robin, doing it the hard way by losing the first three and rebounding to win the next three to set themselves up for a tie-breaker for second spot.
They defeated Kippens native Chantal Newell and Ian Withycombe of St. John’s by a 7-5 spread in the tie-breaker to earn a showdown with the Barrons.
“I think they surprised themselves that they did so well, but they were playing on home ice so maybe they had a little advantage,” coach Scott said.
This is the first time in five years that a team from outside St. John’s will represent the province at the national mixed doubles event.
It’s going to be Ryan’s third nationals. He represented the province at the national junior men’s curling championship as a member of the Greg Smith foursome on two occasions — 2015 and 2016.
“Any time you can put the crest on your back and wear anything representing Newfoundland and Labrador it’s really an amazing feeling and it will never get old,” Ryan said. “Just representing with my sister is something that I’ve never experienced on a player level and that’s something that should be a lot of fun.”
Sarah has never played on the national stage before. Representing her province at a national curling tournament, motivated by watching Ryan do it on two occasions, has been a goal of Sarah’s for a long time.
It’s her moment in the spotlight and she’s excited about taking on some of the best curlers in the country.
“It feels really good to represent Newfoundland and I’m really excited I get to do it with my brother,” Sarah said.