The Interview: Rachel Homan


Vanessa Heins

You’ve been called fearless and ballsy. Is that accurate?
> I guess, yeah. [Laughs.] I’ve played in games, and then when we’re at the airport to fly home, the game’s on the TV at the bar and I’m way more nervous watching myself. I already know that I’ve made the shot, but I’m scared for myself. In the moment it’s exciting and fun, but I feel bad for my parents. That’s stressful.

You’re also often called steely-eyed and scary. People say you don’t smile.
> Yeah, I know. That’s a good one. It’s a sport. It’s a business. We’re here to win. Show me someone who’s trying to execute a golf swing or a slapshot, and they’re chatting away with their opposition or making jokes. It doesn’t happen. When you’re trying to perform something and have extreme focus and precision to centimetres, it’s impossible to smile. We joke around in between ends, we have fun off the ice—we love to have fun. But when you’re on the ice you have a job to do and it’s serious. You want to be the best there is. So, no, I’m not gonna smile as I’m coming out of the hack.

Is there a double standard there?
> For sure. Sports are for both genders, not just males and girls who joke around.

You were dominating bonspiels in middle and high school. What did your friends think?
> It’s probably not the coolest thing. But when you’re on TV and your friends aren’t, things turn around a little bit. In my Grade 12 year I think I had 46 days where I wasn’t at school. I had the most absences you could possibly have and still graduate.

But you’ve been curling since you were a little kid. Atypical?
>I guess so. My whole family curled, and my brother curled and played hockey. I was in one rink or the other my whole childhood. I’m a super competitive person and I played just about every sport there is, but curling was the consistent sport.

Do you get inside other skips’ heads?
>I don’t think you get in someone’s head, but I think having all the tools in your belt to be able to defend anything can factor and influence their strategy, because they’re worried about us making certain shots. Some teams would say, “They’re not gonna do this, they won’t try that shot.” We have every shot that we can in our arsenal to be able to defend against them.

You’re the youngest skip to win back-to-back Scotties.
> That might be true. [Editor’s note: We checked, and it is true.] I don’t know how many people have won back-to-back. I don’t think about that because I try to win all the time.

Do you think the youth of your team bothers other teams?
> Probably. If someone 10 years younger than me was beating me, I’d be upset. For sure. But it’s just the shift in the game. I don’t think the game was as physically demanding before or people put as much into it as they do now.

Are you good at other accuracy sports, like darts and pool?
> Actually, I played Team Edin [a Swedish men’s curling team] in pool and I beat three out of four of them, and I think they were embarrassed. I play like once a year; I think they play all the time. So maybe we can beat them at curling. It translates equally, right?

Definitely. Do you play any other sports?
> Yeah, we’ll go out and play golf in the summer. I still play soccer—I still love it. But I will never head the ball. I back away from it because it’s not worth getting hurt. “Sorry, guys!” Everyone’s got to go to work the next day, right?

You have a new teammate this year, because one of yours moved to Sweden. So you stole another team’s?
> We had a player stolen from us by Sweden, so that means we’re allowed to take another player for our team. Just kidding. We thought that Joanne [Courtney, formerly of Team Alberta] fit really well with our team—her personality and how hard she works at the game and how good her sweeping is and how good her throwing ability is. We asked her to consider it. There’s no hard feelings if you don’t want to. She made the move and is working harder than I ever could have hoped for.

What’s the biggest misconception about curling?
> Some people say it doesn’t look as hard as it is.

If you’re about to make a crazy shot, will your teammates try to talk you out of it?
> Normally if I try a crazy shot my teammates will see that I know I can make it.

A three-peat at the Scotties. What do you think?
> I like it. Has a nice ring to it.

This story originally appeared in Sportsnet magazine. Subscribe here.

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