Since winning the Olympics and deciding our foursome would continuing for the next quadrennial, people have asked, “Why did you decide to keep playing? You’ve already achieved the top prize.”
Our dream was to win the Olympics, but now the dream is a reality, so my perspective is changing. I feel that my changing perspective and curling will still help me grow as an athlete, but moreso as a person.
I recognized many of my reasons for continuing not long after the Olympics, but that has become even clearer to me in the last week.
I sat on a panel as part of a Legacy Lecture in honour of Cal Botterill, our sports psychologist for the last 10 years.
With me on that panel was 2006 Olympic gold medallist in ski racing Chandra Crawford and 1996 Canadian Olympic volleyball player Michelle Sawatzky; both also worked extensively with Cal. Also, our team (of successful people I might add) spent some time chit-chatting on the weekend about some of our ideas moving forward.
The reason I tell you this is simply to give you an idea of the people I am fortunate to be around as a reference on what I am about to say: Having successful, self-aware and honest people around me, inspires me, energizes me and gives me clarity.
I have learned through sport that having negative, demeaning people who lack self-awareness around me is exhausting mentally and emotionally and ultimately does nothing to enhance who I am.
I won’t lie; winning feels good. But learning, growing and feeling inspired is pretty special too. And for Jill the mom, THAT is one of the most important things I want to show and teach my daughter – personal growth and personal acceptance.
To do that, I will continue to surround myself with people I know can inspire me not only to be a better athlete, but people who can motivate me to be a better mom and overall person. Because it is not just about curling, it is about being the best Jill I can be.