Some teams just find a way to win, and Sherry Anderson’s world senior curling championship team is one of those.
On April 27 in Stavanger, Norway, Anderson and her crew of third Patty Hersikorn, second Brenda Goertzen and lead Anita Silvernagle captured their second consecutive world senior women’s curling championship.
“We are totally enjoying this,” said Goertzen, as the tired team arrived at Saskatoon’s airport one night last week. “I never expected to be wearing the red jacket for Canada and now we’ve done it twice . . . and two world championships. It’s all amazing.”
Since getting together four years ago, the Anderson squad has done nothing but win. Their trophy case includes four Saskatchewan senior women’s titles and four appearances in the Canadian finals. They’ve won three straight Canadian championships and two world titles. By winning the 2019 Canadian title earlier this year, the team earned its way to Kelowna next April to try for the three-peat at the world level. Funny thing is, this story almost didn’t happen.
“We’ve been behind by quite a bit in both the last Canadian seniors and this year, we were down 4-0 after three ends,” explained Anderson. “But the thing is we still believe we can do it, even if we’re down. The fact we’re all talented curlers helps, too.”
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here’s no panic. We’re fortunate enough to be down at the start of the game as opposed to the end . . . We just go about our business and obviously have to get some misses out of the other team,” she said.
Anderson says the foundation for her team’s come-backs is strategy.
“We have the strategy to get into a position where we can come back. It’s not always about just making the shot. It’s also about forcing your opposition to make shots they’re not comfortable with. We’re good at that,” she said.
That wisdom comes from experience and the Anderson team has plenty of that. In addition to the senior women’s titles, Anderson has won seven provincial Scotties titles and served as alternate on two other teams. She narrowly missed the 2019 title as well, losing in the final to Silvernagle’s daughter Robyn.
“Yeah, it’s been a really good year for our family,” laughed Anita, who hails from Biggar and whose curling pedigree includes skipping a 1981 high school provincial championship team which included curling legend Sandra Schmirler.
Goertzen, a former provincial mixed champion with Charlie Haichert in 1994, says what makes the Sherry Anderson team special is simple.
“We’ve got good chemistry,” she says. “We talk about things, trust each other and get along. We’re friends and that’s what makes it easy to get out there and curl.”
Hersikorn is a multi-sport athlete who also plays golf, volleyball and has competed at the highest levels in fastball, in which she won an over-40 world championship. She said playing other sports at a high level has helped prepare her for success on the rink.
“It’s about teamwork,” she says.
It’s also about learning how to manage pressure.
“I mean with age, we’ve learned there’s no urgency that we have to win. We want to win but we just play out the game until it’s done. There’s no panic that ‘Oh my God, we can’t lose’ or ‘we have to win.’ I think that’s a big part of it.”
One thing that has never changed for Anderson is her love of the sport. Now in her mid-50s, Anderson still plays a full schedule of bonspiels and playdowns with her women’s team as well as the seniors’ competitions — and continues to win.
“I can’t imagine my life without curling,” she said. “I’ve never had a year when I didn’t curl since I was about eight years old. Curling has always been a constant . . . but I do I think I’m a better curler now than I was. I continue to train and grow with the sport. I just like to play and I’m fortunate to have two teams that let me do that.”
As for the possibility of a three-peat at worlds in 2020, Anderson and her colleagues aren’t getting too worked up about that yet.
“We won’t do anything different than we’ve done the last two to three years,” said Anderson. “It’s a long season and you don’t want to start too early and burn out.”
Hersikorn is even more philosophical.
“The whole thing where we know we’re going back next year is cool. The first year was a long wait, but we’ve been fortunate enough to keep making it to Canadians, so it’s been a good warm-up for us. I’m sure at some point that streak’s going to end, but we’ll just keep riding it out until it stops.”