A young Lacombe curler is striving to be the best she can at her sport and now has a shot at competing in the Canada Winter Games.
When her high school curling team disbanded after last season, Chantele Broderson started looking into other programs to continue curling. She then got involved with an elite University of Alberta program for young curlers.
Broderson said she had known about the program previously because she had played against curlers from the program a few times at different bonspiels.
She has been part of the program since March and now is drawing near her first major competition since.
This weekend, Broderson and her team will be in Calgary to compete in trials for the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, British Columbia.
“It’s our first major thing,” said Broderson. “It’s pretty much what we got the team together for.”
Broderson said she is looking forward to the competition and her anticipation has been building since she began the program in March. However, she feels secure in her ability to compete.
“I’m excited,” said Broderson. “I feel very confident.”
Since beginning the elite program, Broderson has seen quite a difference in her game. She said there is more structure to game play and she is also doing more off-ice strength training and conditioning, something she hadn’t done before.
While curling isn’t known for being a sport where physical fitness is paramount, Broderson said it makes a difference at the higher levels.
When you are curling between four and seven games in a single weekend at a bonspiel, it helps to work out.
“You have more endurance and you feel a lot better after the weekend is over too,” said Broderson.
“You kind of have an upper hand on your competition as well.”
In any case, the program seems to be paying off for Broderson.
“I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit,” said Broderson. “I’ve noticed that I’ve improved quite a bit.”
She first got started curling because both her parents and her grandparents are avid curlers. She said she was exposed to the sport at a young age.
Now 17, Broderson has been curling for eight or nine years.
As she gained experience playing the sport, she developed a keen interest for the strategy involved in curling.
That interest led her to continue developing her knowledge of curling to better understand the different strategies. It also led her to playing the position of skip, the player who calls the shots and throws the last rock for the team.
For those two reasons, skips are often under a lot of pressure.
However, Broderson said she performs well under pressure and enjoys that aspect of the game as well.
“I like kind of being able to have some control over what I get to throw as my last rock,” said Broderson. “You kind of get to arrange the end the way you want to.”
As a young curler, it was something special for Broderson to be involved with the Boston Pizza Cup when it was hosted in Lacombe last year.
“It was cool because I did some officiating with that, so it was nice to be able to see all the players and interact with them being on the ice with them,” said Broderson.
She said she is looking forward to being involved in the same capacity with the Provincial Women’s Championships when Lacombe hosts them at the end of January. She added that such publicity is good for the sport of curling within Lacombe.
“I think it’s nice to have the exposure in Lacombe, especially since there are not very many junior curlers,” said Broderson.
“It’s a good way to promote junior curling a bit. I have noticed there are a lot more junior curlers than there were last year.”
Aside from the U of A program and high school, Broderson has also curled in the Lacombe Ladies Curling League, winning the league last season with her team.
Her high school team also took fifth place in the Alberta Junior Provincial Championships last season and have a banner hanging in the Lacombe Curling Rink from that tournament.
Broderson added that her team was the youngest one at the competition as well.
Throughout her curling career, she has enjoyed many such successes. She said that she thinks her love of curling fueled those achievements.
Because Broderson enjoys curling so much, she spent more time playing it and developing her skill.
Because she spent so much time developing her skill, she has become quite talented at the sport and enjoyed a lot of successes.
As for her future in curling, Broderson said she plans to keep playing for as long as she is able. She said she hopes to play at the university level, possibly with the U of A and has aspirations of curling at the Olympics or the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.