Ontario and Owen Duhaime take silver at Optimist Intenational Spiel

By terrance gavan

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Owen Duhaime is on the move. Photo by Terrance Gavan

Team Ontario’s curling foursome won every game in the Optimist International under-18 bonspiel last week.

Except for the last one.

And of course.

The last game in any tournament is the most important one.

So, Haliburton’s Owen Duhaime may be forgiven this week for not being at his jovial best.

His Ontario team – with Spencer Nuttall, Ben Bernier and Jack Lindsay – swept through the round robin portion of the 12-team men’s side with a perfect 5-0 record.

In fact, this team was so good that it never once played out the full eight ends in the round robin.

They won their semi-final handily and then had a two shot lead in the final end of the Gold medal match versus Dawson Creek, Team Alberta. (Okay so Dawson Creek is in BC, but they play for Alberta – complicated geography in the foothills.)

That’s when the stuff hit the fan. Team Ontario gave up four without the hammer. Big, big exhale. And they lost by two.

“We were in control all week and we were in control in the final,” said Duhaime on Monday night.

So what happened?

Quite simple.

“We (crapped) the bed in that final end,” laughs Duhaime. He’s okay with it now, but at the time it just seemed so unfair for a team that was clearly so dominant.

“It was a hard loss because it was, in all honesty, a game that we should have won handily. It wasn’t even one of our toughest games,” says Duhaime, who curled his final year with Hal High this past season. He’s off to college and he’s got some support – a Quest for Gold scholarship worth around $6,000.

Ah, we’ve all been there. An old curling buddy of mine from right here in Haliburton told me just this year. “Terry, it’s an old rule, once you’ve got ‘em you’ve got to step on the throat.” Hah. And you thought curling was for pikers?

Owen Duhaime and his teammates surely know about that windpipe rule. But somehow they let this one get away.

And hey! It’s a silver medal.

“Yeah,” says Duhaime. “But it’s not what we went there (St George’s Curling Club, their home rink) to do. We went to win the gold and we had it in our hands.”

But he says that the team will take a lot away from this loss. It’s a learning experience. Loss can be a harsh but illuminating teacher.

“We outplayed the team (Alberta),” smiles Duhaime. “We gave up four in that final end because of a few missed shot and a few bad calls.

“If we can take anything away from this it’s that we have to work on our strategy; we have to work on it because we know that we have the talent to win.”

And that tweak will come in handy, because this team is not done yet.

Come September they’ll be back as a unit, curling on the very competitive junior circuit looking for a coveted Ontario junior crown.

You’ll recall that another former Hal High curler did that not too long ago.

Jake Walker skipped his junior team to an Ontario and a National junior crown back in 2010. He took bronze at the worlds in Flims, Switzerland.

Owen Duhaime, a sparkplug at lead, says that his team thinks they can take Ontario in 2012.

“We’re curling together in the juniors and we’re keeping our coach John Rudd,” says Duhaime. “He’s done a really good job with us. We really think that we have a very good chance to take Ontario.”

For now?

Time to decompress.

But not for that long.

Owen is off to a curling camp in Guelph come August.

And then?

“Well, our first spiel is in September,” says Duhaime.

Has it come to this Canada?

Curling in August?

Wait! Sign me up.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]