The Unlikely 8-Ender - Curling Day In Canada

My name is Tanner Nathan, I began curling at 22 years old when the Sarnia Golf and Curling Club offered a year of free curling to all golf members. I have not been able to get enough of the game ever since! Now 33 years old I play in 5 leagues weekly, my YouTube history is all curling games (new and old) and I am involved with continued success of curling in our area, which has become quite healthy at this time.

My story dates back to January 2020, I was my second day of intermediate trade school when I noticed my eyes had turned yellow. I went to the hospital in Petrolia where they conducted a few tests, I was there for a few hours but I left against doctors orders to make the 8:30 draw that night because we would have had to forfeit because we only had 3 players. We played well, won the game but during play I received a call from the hospital that I needed to go back the next day. I woke up that next morning l, looked in the mirror and I knew I wasn’t going to school that day, I was going to the hospital.

I spent a week in the Sarnia hospital where they told me my liver was very inflamed and they could not get the numbers down. We did not know the cause and treatment with steroids was not working. It was time for them to send me to University Hospital in London, Ontario where they have specialists to help me. The second day I was there they informed me I would likely need a liver transplant, this was very scary and very surprising. The only warning I had was being tired for a couple weeks and turning jaundice. Week after week passed by sitting in the hospital, missing league games and missing two bonspiels I was greatly looking forward to. It was all I could think about! I had this feeling deep down that everything would be okay. In my 5th week of being hospitalized, a surgeon informed me I would need a transplant, likely from a living donor but that night I would be the backup if the deceased donor liver did not work out for the person it was meant for. It was hard to sleep that night, the liver would not work for either of us. Two days later, my liver inflammation numbers started slowly coming down and they said I could go home. This seemed pretty drastic compared to two days earlier but every doctor has a different opinion. I had four days to get ready for the Oil Chemical Bonspiel at Sarnia.

I was on high doses of prednisone, 20 pounds lighter and still yellow (jaundice) but I was determined to play that weekend. I went to practice the day after leaving the hospital and I couldn’t get the stone down past the other hog line, I thought ‘holy, this is going to be tough.” The day of the spiel came and I was nothing but excited, we had a a fairly easy game Friday night leading into the saturday morning game where my guys were making everything! My shot calling was built for draws as I could only throw about board weight max (and Sarnia ice is lightning fast!), we crafted up a 6 ender with hammer in the 3rd, forced in the 4th and got hammer back in the 5th. I stuck with the same soft strategy knowing we were in good shape on the scoreboard, before I knew it after a couple board weight takeouts on their freeze attempts we had 7 blues in the house with just 1 yellow rock sitting in the open wing in the 8 foot. The opposing skip tried to freeze a rock in the pocket on the button, he was coming in heavy and their lead pushed the stone towards our pile of blues, my vice jumped into action knowing what was at stake, stopping the rock with his brownie throwing broom leaving the yellow rock bobbling in the top 8. After a brief discussion with the other team about the chance at the 8 ender, I had to take out the rock on the wing and stick around for the 8. We called Normal weight with max ice, I threw board weight and I was tight, Chand I both yelled for the guys to sweep, they swept so hard I couldn’t believe they held it. We hit about half the stone, since I was light I calmly rolled into the pile of blues (sweeping credit to Corey and Craig). The The of the weekend didnt matter anymore, we had scored our one and only 8-ender!

Three years later, I have not had to have a transplant. The disease (autoimmune hepatitis) I understand control with immune suppressants. I still look forward to curling every game I get to play and dont take it for granted. I hope to play at a more competitive level one day. Positivity truly can heal.

For Love of The Roaring Game,

Tanner Nathan

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