March 16, 2018 5:33 pm

Jill’s House: Looking forward to a change, and to open doors down the road

Manitoba, left to right, Jennifer Jones, Shannon Birchard, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen pose with the trophy after their win at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton, B.C., Feb. 4, 2018.

THE CANADIAN PRESS / Sean Kilpatrick
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Canadian Olympic gold medalist and Winnipeg mom Jill Officer gives us a twice-monthly look behind the scenes of her dual life in her blog, Jill’s House.

Imagine carrying five 2-4’s of beer on your back like this guy…

“I saw this guy during my 27 day trek in the Himilayas in 2006.”

Jill Officer / submitted

…through the mountainous trails of the Himalayas yet!

Without even realizing it, I was feeling like that guy up until making a public announcement 10 days ago that I would be stepping away from full-time curling.

READ MORE: Jill Officer to take ‘step back’ from competitive curling

Now I can relax and drink that beer!

Well, maybe not yet because we are off to represent Canada at the World Women’s Curling Championships in North Bay, Ontario starting on Saturday.

Manitoba, left to right, Jennifer Jones, Shannon Birchard, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen pose with the trophy after their win at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton, B.C., Feb. 4, 2018.

THE CANADIAN PRESS / Sean Kilpatrick

But I’ll tell ya, I do feel some serious relief now that my decision is public and I can freely talk about it.

For those who are just catching up, I decided I would be stepping away from full-time curling at the end of this season.

I will remain as fifth player for Team Jones to take advantage of some of the perks that come with having won the Scotties this year, including a return trip to the event next year in Sydney, NS.

A press release issued March 2, 2018 announcing changes to Team Jennifer Jones.

Jill Officer / submitted

Story continues below

Now that all is said and done and I reflect, I have been preparing myself for this moment for well over a year, if not longer.  I have spoken about it at great length with my husband, sports psychologist and others.  So although the final decision and verbal affirmation to my team that they needed a new player was done in January, I knew it was coming.  I knew I needed to make this choice.

However, it’s still been an incredible journey of emotions, especially the last couple of months.

READ MORE: Jill’s House: the world of curling is a bit of a wild ride

From the disappointment of not going to the Olympics to winning provincials, verbalizing my decision, to winning the Scotties, I have experienced every human feeling possible.  That includes a deep sadness that I knew would hit me as if those five 2-4’s of beer had landed on my chest.

I could feel me letting go of something that has been my life, my passion and my love, so it was no surprise that I shed thousands of tears during this grieving process.

I know curling still exists and it will still exist in my life, but the capacity in which I’ve known it will significantly change.  My daily routines will change.  My seasonal routines will change.  My travel routines will change.  But that is exactly what I am looking forward to!

a Tweet following the Team Jones announcement.

@JillOfficer

You may have noticed that I am not using the word “retirement.”  I am doing that on purpose.  It seemed too final to me.  I felt like I would be closing doors on potential opportunities.

RELATED: Jill’s House: Where the last four years has gotten me

I certainly know I am done with the full-time four-year Olympic cycle grind.  I don’t have it in me.  But you just never know what might slide through an open door down the road.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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