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Pair recalls competing in curling for N.S. at 2003 Canada Games


WHERE ARE THEY NOW, BY CAROL DUNN

Twelve years ago, two curlers from Westville competed at the Canada Winter Games held in Bathurst, N.B. While neither of them curl competitively any longer, they still carry with them the memories they made and the experience they gained.

Lead Heather (Bannier) Brain, who is married and now lives in Calgary, learned that hard work and dedication do pay off.

“It was great for me. It showed me that if I set my mind to something and work hard at it, I get this awesome experience,” she says.

She was 15 years old when she competed at the games, and the team was coached by David Williams of Truro and registered there. Because of this, she spent close to two years travelling to Truro for practices. To qualify for the games, the team had to compete in a lot of tournaments as well.

“It was hard,” she says. “At one point I said I don’t want to do this anymore.”

But she’s glad she stuck with it.

Besides the travel, another aspect she found difficult was the discipline necessary to train for elite competition. She says this included what she was allowed to eat. “There was no junk food. We had to keep ourselves in really good shape.”

Cara DiPersio-Trahan, who was the second, also remembers their coach’s strict healthy food policy. While at the games, she says there were a lot of items they weren’t allowed to eat. “We could see all this nice food that we can’t touch until after the game.”

DiPersio-Trahan was almost 18 when she curled for Team Nova Scotia and says the experience had an impact on her life long after the games. “It was the first time I had ever been to a major competition,” she says. “It helped give me more confidence, and made me feel much better about myself.”

Their team – the Paige Mattie rink – finished in fourth place at those games, being defeated by New Brunswick in the bronze medal game. But it was the highest placement for the Nova Scotia women’s curling team at the Canada Games in quite some time.

“We placed fourth, which was good enough for me. Even though we didn’t get a medal, it was so exciting to go there and play in the Games,” says DiPersio-Trahan.

“We were pretty proud of it,” she says, adding that the team went to the Games as underdogs, with the squad being formed specifically to play at the Canada Games.

 

“It was so much fun – the whole experience. I had been in tournaments, but nothing this major,” says DiPersio-Trahan.

She remembers the cramped quarters they lived in during the Games, the very cold temperatures, and the long bus rides to Dalhousie, where the curling took place. She also recalls the Nova Scotia fans.

“My family was the loudest cheering group,” she says, noting that her father sang the Ole song a lot, and one of the officials told her “your family is crazy.”

Brain also remembers the parents of the team getting together and renting a house. And someone spray painted “Go Nova Scotia” in front of the house. “They had a huge cheering section for us.”

The girls participated in the opening ceremonies, which also had an impact on them. “It was huge. It seemed like there were athletes and people forever and ever,” says Brain, adding that she remembers the matching outfits worn by all the teams.

 “I had never done anything like that before – it was a bit overwhelming. It was a unique experience to go through.”

DiPersio-Trahan says being there in person was “unreal. I remember waiting forever outside – the whole ceremony was absolutely breathtaking. They gave us these Styrofoam balls and after the prime minister finished making a speech, we threw all these snowballs at him.”

Another highlight for the girls was watching Sidney Crosby, who is now an NHL star with the Pittsburgh Penguins, play for Team Nova Scotia.

After high school, DiPersio-Trahan attended St. Thomas University in Fredericton, majoring in criminology with minor in sociology. “When I went off to university, I thought it would be over, but I did curl some.”

She now lives in Greenwood, where she works at the community centre on the military base, as well as the family resource centre. She helps out military families and spouses and also volunteers with the resource centre. Her husband Shawn is in the military, and they have a toddler named Isaac.

DiPersio-Trahan doesn’t curl competitively, but still enjoys the family-oriented sport as a fun activity. “I still curl on and off. I love going out and having fun.”

She says the Canada Games was such a great experience. “I don't think anything could top it. Now I just curl for the fun of it.”

While she still has her Team Nova Scotia jerseys hanging in the closet, Brain hasn’t worn a curling jersey very much since then. “I curled all through high school after the Canada Games, but when I went to university, the club is 20 minutes away from the university and I didn’t have a car so I couldn’t get to the club.”

Brain entered the business program at St. FX and, after graduation, she worked for an eye surgery clinic. She is now an administrative assistant at Sliced FC in Calgary, a company that processes fruit and vegetable products.

She says she had intended to return to curling on a regular basis, but for now only plays occasionally. “My friends and I rent a sheet of ice and go play once or twice a year,” she says. “I’ve always been meaning to get back to it.”

Brain won’t be curling any time soon, however, as she’s due to have a baby on Feb. 24. An avid curling fan, she has tickets to attend the Tim Hortons Brier at the Saddledome in Calgary, which begins on Feb. 28.

She’s hoping the baby will come a little later so she can fulfil her dream of attending the Brier or the Scottie Tournament of Hearts. “I’m willing to go four days over my due date so I can watch that one game,” she says.

For the athletes who are competing at the Canada Games in British Columbia now, Brain says: “They’ll be able to remember that stuff and have those experiences for so long.”

 

Where Are They Now? is a monthly feature that seeks out former newsmakers from Pictou County. If there’s someone you would like to read about, please submit their name to Carol Dunn at carol.dunn@ngnews.ca.

Twelve years ago, two curlers from Westville competed at the Canada Winter Games held in Bathurst, N.B. While neither of them curl competitively any longer, they still carry with them the memories they made and the experience they gained.

Lead Heather (Bannier) Brain, who is married and now lives in Calgary, learned that hard work and dedication do pay off.

“It was great for me. It showed me that if I set my mind to something and work hard at it, I get this awesome experience,” she says.

She was 15 years old when she competed at the games, and the team was coached by David Williams of Truro and registered there. Because of this, she spent close to two years travelling to Truro for practices. To qualify for the games, the team had to compete in a lot of tournaments as well.

“It was hard,” she says. “At one point I said I don’t want to do this anymore.”

But she’s glad she stuck with it.

Besides the travel, another aspect she found difficult was the discipline necessary to train for elite competition. She says this included what she was allowed to eat. “There was no junk food. We had to keep ourselves in really good shape.”

Cara DiPersio-Trahan, who was the second, also remembers their coach’s strict healthy food policy. While at the games, she says there were a lot of items they weren’t allowed to eat. “We could see all this nice food that we can’t touch until after the game.”

DiPersio-Trahan was almost 18 when she curled for Team Nova Scotia and says the experience had an impact on her life long after the games. “It was the first time I had ever been to a major competition,” she says. “It helped give me more confidence, and made me feel much better about myself.”

Their team – the Paige Mattie rink – finished in fourth place at those games, being defeated by New Brunswick in the bronze medal game. But it was the highest placement for the Nova Scotia women’s curling team at the Canada Games in quite some time.

“We placed fourth, which was good enough for me. Even though we didn’t get a medal, it was so exciting to go there and play in the Games,” says DiPersio-Trahan.

“We were pretty proud of it,” she says, adding that the team went to the Games as underdogs, with the squad being formed specifically to play at the Canada Games.

 

“It was so much fun – the whole experience. I had been in tournaments, but nothing this major,” says DiPersio-Trahan.

She remembers the cramped quarters they lived in during the Games, the very cold temperatures, and the long bus rides to Dalhousie, where the curling took place. She also recalls the Nova Scotia fans.

“My family was the loudest cheering group,” she says, noting that her father sang the Ole song a lot, and one of the officials told her “your family is crazy.”

Brain also remembers the parents of the team getting together and renting a house. And someone spray painted “Go Nova Scotia” in front of the house. “They had a huge cheering section for us.”

The girls participated in the opening ceremonies, which also had an impact on them. “It was huge. It seemed like there were athletes and people forever and ever,” says Brain, adding that she remembers the matching outfits worn by all the teams.

 “I had never done anything like that before – it was a bit overwhelming. It was a unique experience to go through.”

DiPersio-Trahan says being there in person was “unreal. I remember waiting forever outside – the whole ceremony was absolutely breathtaking. They gave us these Styrofoam balls and after the prime minister finished making a speech, we threw all these snowballs at him.”

Another highlight for the girls was watching Sidney Crosby, who is now an NHL star with the Pittsburgh Penguins, play for Team Nova Scotia.

After high school, DiPersio-Trahan attended St. Thomas University in Fredericton, majoring in criminology with minor in sociology. “When I went off to university, I thought it would be over, but I did curl some.”

She now lives in Greenwood, where she works at the community centre on the military base, as well as the family resource centre. She helps out military families and spouses and also volunteers with the resource centre. Her husband Shawn is in the military, and they have a toddler named Isaac.

DiPersio-Trahan doesn’t curl competitively, but still enjoys the family-oriented sport as a fun activity. “I still curl on and off. I love going out and having fun.”

She says the Canada Games was such a great experience. “I don't think anything could top it. Now I just curl for the fun of it.”

While she still has her Team Nova Scotia jerseys hanging in the closet, Brain hasn’t worn a curling jersey very much since then. “I curled all through high school after the Canada Games, but when I went to university, the club is 20 minutes away from the university and I didn’t have a car so I couldn’t get to the club.”

Brain entered the business program at St. FX and, after graduation, she worked for an eye surgery clinic. She is now an administrative assistant at Sliced FC in Calgary, a company that processes fruit and vegetable products.

She says she had intended to return to curling on a regular basis, but for now only plays occasionally. “My friends and I rent a sheet of ice and go play once or twice a year,” she says. “I’ve always been meaning to get back to it.”

Brain won’t be curling any time soon, however, as she’s due to have a baby on Feb. 24. An avid curling fan, she has tickets to attend the Tim Hortons Brier at the Saddledome in Calgary, which begins on Feb. 28.

She’s hoping the baby will come a little later so she can fulfil her dream of attending the Brier or the Scottie Tournament of Hearts. “I’m willing to go four days over my due date so I can watch that one game,” she says.

For the athletes who are competing at the Canada Games in British Columbia now, Brain says: “They’ll be able to remember that stuff and have those experiences for so long.”

 

Where Are They Now? is a monthly feature that seeks out former newsmakers from Pictou County. If there’s someone you would like to read about, please submit their name to Carol Dunn at carol.dunn@ngnews.ca.

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