Holding the vision

The title of this post has been siting in my draft folder for months.The idea came up while I was watch Team Ulsrud play at the Stu Sells Tankard and it was an idea I wanted to wrestle with, to expand out to create wider themes. But I never felt compelled to complete it.

So why am I here writing it now at 4 in the morning?

Because it's about how I lost faith in Thomas. Specifically, in how I lost faith in him to win.

I noticed this happening as I watched the matches. I wanted them to win, even more so after I spent some time talking to them. But I didn't believe they would.

They say for you to create anything, you first need to imagine it. You need to hold the vision of it, using it to drive you and guide you. As a theatre direction, the vision of the project is yours to hold and nurture. Over the years, I've gotten pretty good at holding the vision for the artists I've been working with, guiding them to realizing it.

And yet this team I love, I keep expecting to fail.

Maybe it starts back at this moment, at the last Olympics, when they failed to make the playoffs. Was this the moment that planted the seed? It's possible. Then again, they did go on to win the World Championships, which made me think they were going out in a blaze of glory, being the champions I believed them to be.

Was it farther back, when I saw them live for the first time in the Players Championship in 2013, where they made a quick exit from the playoffs? Possibly.

But strangely enough, I think it cemented with that picture at the top of the page. They had a brilliant day, winning all the matches I watched. I had so much excitement watching them the first draw, being so close to them, that I found myself over the course of the day creating distance, being uncomfortable being so close to them. Mainly because of my reaction to Thomas.

Now, I've written before about my fascination with him, how I'd be so drawn to him. I had even met him briefly at the Players. But at the cosy confines of the High Park Club, I got to see him interact with fans. I got to see just how generous he was with people, how touchy-feely with them he is (which as a touchy-feely person myself I greatly appreciated), and just how utterly beautiful he is - even dressed casually and being somewhat sweaty. I didn't want to be one of "those people", who fawn over him or even worse, make him uncomfortable. And so I held back that part of me that is, let's be honest, really attracted to him.

So maybe, in some f-ed up idea of self-protection, I subconsciously looked for some fault in him. And found it in his play-making. As I've mentioned before, he's a gambler. As such, he will have a high percentage of misses when he goes for the big risk/big reward plays. I'd start getting an uneasy feeling as he went to play them.

Which brings me back to the title of this post. Did I have a sixth-sense that he'd miss those shots? Or did my inability to hold the vision create the energetic waves of doubt that contributed to the situation? (This comes from my belief that the energetic impulses sent out by an audience do in fact affect players - see the bottom of the 7th inning in game 5 of the 2015 ALDS for a perfect example. I'm convinced that the angry crowd contributed to the errors.)

When I went back to watch the final day of the StuSells, I wanted them to make the finals. But I didn't have the belief that they would. And they didn't. As I stood talking with them while they waited for their cab, I decided that I needed to do something so that I could hold the vision of them wining the Olympics because it is something I dearly wanted for them.

Which brings me to why I'm here writing this at 4 in the morning. An hour ago, Thomas just had to make his final shot to win his game. He didn't. And I didn't believe he would. Both games I've watched so far, Thomas had the game in hand, only to lose through a bad shot. After the first game, I created a vision of them winning the rest of the games, playing the best curling of their lives. And they won the next one, a game I was unable to watch. I watch this one and again, I get the bad feeling in the final ends. I wanted so much to hold the vision but it would not come.

So here I am, trying to find a way that I can. Writing this to work through what appears to be very strong and complicated feelings for a man I've barely met. The entire team are just wonderful people, based on what I observed and stories I've heard from others. There's a love I have for them, something that is real, because love comes in many forms and can ignite in an instant with a kind word or shared moment of laughter. Or through admiration for ones who are willing to be different and own that choice. That love wants them to achieve their goal.

So it's time to find the barriers I have to accessing that love and tear them down. It's time for me to finally hold their vision.