Keep calm and Carey on: Chelsea Carey has perfect start at Scotties after 'tough' season
Alberta curler hoping for better fate at 2019 tournament following year of close losses
SYDNEY, N.S. — What a difference a year has made in the life of Chelsea Carey.
Flashback to the Scotties in Penticton, B.C., last February. Carey was trying to do everything she could to salvage the curling season after some devastating losses.
The first came at the Olympic Trials in Ottawa. Carey finished the round robin undefeated and earned a spot in the final, only to miss a double takeout with her last rock to give Rachel Homan the win. She was that close to wearing the Maple Leaf in Pyeongchang.
Then Carey and Colin Hodgson were bounced from the playoffs at the first ever mixed doubles Olympic trials — just a few wins away from once again representing Canada at the Winter Games.
The last dagger came during the wild-card game at last year's Scotties. After losing in the Alberta playdowns, Carey had one last chance to make it into the Canadian women's championship — but she would go on to lose that game too, a 7-4 defeat to Kerri Einarson.
WATCH | Carey, Alberta win in 11th end to stay perfect at Scotties:
The season couldn't end soon enough for Carey.
"It was tough," said Carey. "It was not a fun time in my life and I'm sure in my teammate's lives, getting so close to those things and then being on the outside looking in at it all was pretty bad."
Carey couldn't wait for both the Scotties and Olympics to end one year ago. Every game was a constant reminder of how close she came to being there, only to be watching it on TV from her couch.
"Once it was all over I was OK. I just couldn't wait for the Scotties to end. I wanted the Olympics and the Scotties to be over so I could stop thinking about it," she said.
After last season ended, Carey's team split up. It was a long, arduous summer for the skip.
"It was a challenge but it is what it is," she said. "I didn't have much desire to throw rocks in the summer this year. But I was alive and breathing and a lot worse things could happen."
Finding the fire again
It wasn't long after a summer of discontent that Carey was able to get fired up again for the sport she loves so much. She formed a new team with Sarah Wilkes, Dana Ferguson and Rachelle Brown.
The new foursome would earn the right to represent Alberta at this year's Scotties.
So far, Carey and company are on a roll. They've won their first four games of the national championship and seem to be playing with a high level of confidence.
"It's nice to be back," Carey said. "It took me so many years of watching it on TV to finally get to one. Then you get spoiled when you go to a few in a short period of time."
Carey's team is tied with Homan's rink atop the Pool A standings with 4-0 records. The two teams meet in an Olympic trials final rematch on Tuesday night at Centre 200 in Sydney.
Despite some difficult losses over the last season, it wasn't all that long ago that Carey knew the sweet taste of victory. In 2016, she won the Scotties title in Grande Prairie, Alta. Now she wants to find that winning touch again and put the last year behind her.
"It's nice to be playing in it this year and on the other side of it," she said. "That's sports. That's the nature of it and it sucks. But it's what we sign up for."