Kristie Moore arrives at The Scotties this weekend with brimming confidence and the knowledge that water under the bridge could lead to her having a better shot at a national title.
The 33 year old native of Grand Prairie, Alberta will hit the ice knowing full well that if she needs a big shot at a critical moment, she can deliver. After all, she did draw the button with her final stone in the 11th end of the provincial final to secure an 8-7 win and a trip to Kingston, Ontario for The Scotties.
Now that she's arrived at the big show, Moore's put aside some hard feelings and added her former skip - and the woman she beat in the Alberta final - Renee Sonenberg, as her team's alternate.
“She can only be a great asset to our team," said Moore of Sonenberg. "And sometimes you just have to look at it that way. It’s not necessarily about you and your feelings, it’s more about what you can do for your team, right?”
It doesn't seem that there was ever a terribly nasty rift between the two. However there were hurt feelings to overcome. After spending two years at second for Team Sonnenberg, Moore was cut loose last spring and was preparing for the birth of twins in the summer. She wasn't happy with the parting of ways.
“Definitely I was disappointed. For sure, because I very much enjoyed playing with that team. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t."
Time, they say, heals all wounds and that might well be part of why Moore was able to extend a hand to Sonenberg after the Alberta Championship. However, there was more to it than that. A victory over a former team also has remarkable healing powers.
"You know," said Moore with a laugh, "the biggest thing was that I won. So, I proved my point there. You don’t need to say any more than that. I did what I needed to do on the ice and I proved my point, I feel. And like I say, Renee is a wonderful woman. I would curl again with her in a heartbeat. I have the utmost respect for her abilities and her knowledge of the game."
With the door to the Sonenberg team closed last spring, Moore found a few others open. She decided to hitch her wagon to three women who came calling, looking for a skip.
“The three girls (vice Blaine de Jager, second Michelle Dykstra and lead Amber Cheveldave) had already decided to play and then they contacted me after they heard that I no longer had a team," explained Moore. "They were looking for someone who could skip or at least play back end. I had a couple of other options but didn’t really know when I would be back on the ice, so I decided to go with them because they were closer to home."
In a Scotties field that boasts Jennifer Jones, Heather Nedohin, Rachel Homan, Kelly Scott and Mary-Anne Arsenault (whose team features former skip Colleen Jones at second), you could forgive a curling fan for taking a newby a little lightly.
But, as was the case with Saskatchewan's Jill Shumay, Moore had to claw her way through some of the toughest teams in her province in order to participate, emerging from her spot as a 10th seed at Alberta Scotties. “We weren’t expected to do very well," said Moore. "Nobody would have put their money on us.”
It's true that Moore was able to take advantage of a weak year in her team's qualification zone, merely needing to sign up for playdowns in order to compete at The provincial Scotties. The Peace District then had a two game playoff between her team and one skipped by Delia DeJong to decide which one would go in as an "A" team and which would be the "B" at provincials.
At the Alberta Scotties, Moore's team started badly. With two losses in a row they found they they had to win out in order to be champions. One more loss would have eliminated them.
Win out is just what they did, getting stronger and stronger as the week went on. That momentum is something Moore thinks her team can bank on.
“We were obviously prepared for the last event so if we just keep on doing what we’ve been doing we should be alright," she said. Doing what they've been doing means a little league play and lots and lots of practice time.
Sonenberg's experience will be helpful. She's been to two Scotties a s a skip. For her part, Moore has one Scotties under her belt, playing with Nedohin back in 2000. As well, Moore served as alternate on Cheryl Bernard's silver medal winning Olympic team in 2010.
“I’m trying to help the girls prepare as well as they can for what’s going to happen so that they’re not having the first time jitters," said Moore of her young teammates, who will have to be ready for the super fast ice of a Scotties.
“It’s always a little bit different than club ice," offered Moore, who's first two games will be against British Columbia's Scott and Ontario's Homan. "So getting handle on that early in the week will be really important.”
Even if Moore's team gets off to a rocky start on the first weekend, it doesn't mean they couldn't recover. Kristie Moore has done her fair share of bouncing back recently, you could say. And while thrilled to wear Alberta blue for the first time as a skip, she's also determined to be more than a tourist.
“I’m very happy to be there but I want to do better than just be there," she said.