Rejoining one of the country’s most promising curling teams, loaded with expectations and pressure to perform, might end up feeling like small potatoes for Sam Fisher.
She is expected to bolster the front lines in the fight against the pandemic next week.
Fisher, who has replaced Ashley Klymchuk as lead for Team Brown, earned a diploma in respiratory therapy from Thompson Rivers University, graduating about three weeks ago.
Orientation has been expedited due to the COVID-19 crisis. She starts work next week for Interior Health at Royal Inland Hospital in a casual position.
“It’s nerve-racking, for sure,” said Fisher, a Kamloops product.
“You don’t know what you’re coming in contact with on a regular basis, and also taking home to loved ones.
“At the same time, this is what I signed up to do. You don’t anticipate you’re going to be part of a pandemic, but any difference you can make as a health-care worker, it makes you feel pretty good at the end of the day.”
Fisher, a Brown rink original member, along with Corryn Brown, Erin Pincott and Sydney Fraser, left the group after the 2017-2018 season to focus on studies at TRU.
The decision was not easy, as she left an up-and-comer that won provincial bronze in 2018 in its first season in the women’s ranks, a team that won three provincial titles and one national championship in juniors.
Klymchuk replaced Fisher and the team continued its trajectory, winning silver and gold at the 2019 and 2020 B.C. Scotties, respectively, before winding up sixth at the national Scotties earlier this year in Moose Jaw.
Fisher knew she wanted to return to the game after graduating, but a fit this perfect seemed unlikely.
Klymchuk is pregnant with twins, news that broke to team members a few weeks before Fisher got mitts on her diploma.
“I couldn’t have pictured that in a million years, that there would be an opportunity to play with them again so soon,” Fisher said, noting she plans to mould her work schedule around curling events during the season.
“The standards are set really high and the goals are good for the next two years, at least. It’s really exciting to be in this position.”
The Brown rink for 2020-2021 will include skip Brown, third Pincott, second Dezaray Hawes and lead Fisher, along with coach Allison MacInnes.
“Team chemistry is a huge thing, especially with how well things went with Ashley and how seamless that transition was,” Brown said. “We wanted to find someone who could mimic that. She [Klymchuk] brings a lot of happiness and humour to the team. It was a great energy to have around and she had a different perspective on life, a little bit further along, married. You could talk to her about all sorts of things.”
Klymchuk was the top lead at the national Scotties in February.
Fisher has not curled competitively with the Brown rink since March of 2018.
There is some polishing to do, but Fisher has not been absent from the game, playing two or three times a week last season and finishing second, along with partner Jared Kolomaya, at mixed doubles provincials in 2019.
“It’s kind of like riding a bike,” Fisher said. “I hope I can pick up where I left off and use the resources we have to get back into it.
“I couldn’t have dreamt it up better.”