In the summer of 2017, my team and I went to the Moncton Junior Curling Camp. It was my first ever curling camp! Moncton was a long, 7-hour drive away, but it was worth it because the camp was hosted by my curling idol, Rachel Homan.

Ever since I started curling in 2013, Rachel has been my role-model in the sport. Her level of intensity on the ice, drive for excellence, and determination had always captivated me. Her peel-weight in-offs were my favourite shot to watch, and I would always emulate them when I practiced by myself. I aspired to be as good as her one day.

I was 15 years old at the time of the camp and everything felt like a whirlwind, but I was determined to make the most of it! I even spent the break times practicing on my own, where Rachel eventually noticed my determination and came onto the ice with me. It was just the two of us on the ice, and she had brought one of her jerseys with her. She handed me the jersey and told me to “keep working hard.” The kind gesture from my curling idol meant the world to me, and I even teared up from her thoughtfulness.

Her words have stuck with me ever since.

My dad used to always tell me “yeux pointus” (eagle eyes) when I needed to take a deep breath and focus in the hack. Every time he told me that, I would picture Rachel’s eyes and how they reflected intensity and precision.

It was with that intensity and precision that my team and I went on to win the 2019 Quebec Scotties, earning the right to represent Quebec at the nationals! At 17, I became the youngest player to ever compete in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. All the emotions I felt about competing in this incredible event were overwhelming, and I felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. However, once I stepped on the ice, my head cleared and I was left to focus on my games with eagle eyes.

I was exhilarated to be in the same pool as Team Ontario during the Scotties. Getting to play against my all-time favourite team, Team Homan, in front of what felt like thousands of spectators in the stands, was a moment I will never forget. Facing my idol on the ice fueled my burning passion for the sport as I played one of my best games ever.

Rachel Homan inspires me to stay determined and to work towards my goals with focus and intensity, just like her. She told me to “keep working hard,” and that is exactly what I’ll do.