My ninth World Championships is almost here and fingers crossed it will turn out to be my one and only in a pandemic bubble.
To say this year will be a unique experience is an understatement.
As hard as everybody behind the scenes is working and as impressive as the Calgary set-up is, you can’t take it for granted that there won’t be a coronavirus issue just round the corner.
The men had one at the end of their Championships and we’re just keeping our fingers crossed that the drama of a couple of positive tests at the start of the week for teams flying into Canada will be the last of the issues for ours.
They hadn’t entered the bubble yet, thankfully.
It shows the continued risk of flying, I suppose, and that the procedures are working well here.
That’s no consolation for the players who will miss the Worlds, though, and will now have to continue to quarantine for the duration of the tournament.
One thing that is the same as usual is the pre-Worlds excitement and nerves.
I’d like to think being one of the teams who have been part of the bubble for a few weeks and have played a couple of Grand Slams will give us an advantage and get us off to a fast start on day one against the USA and Japan.
👀 at the LGT World Women's schedule ahead of Friday!
— World Curling (@worldcurling) April 28, 2021
The stakes are huge.
Normally, I’d say that our big target is to get a medal but this year it has to be sixth.
That’s the magic number which gets Britain into the Olympics – which would hopefully be our team.
If we do reach the point that sixth is guaranteed, a lot of the pressure would be lifted for the rest of the tournament.
We’ve had some good wins and been involved in a lot of tight games in the two slams so we’re as prepared as we can be.
If the last year and the time I had out of curling after my hip operation before that have shown me anything, it’s that competing at a Worlds can’t be taken for granted.
I can’t wait to get started and to see how far we can go.
What about that St Johnstone win!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the game but I was getting regular updates from a Rangers-supporting team-mate!
I’ve seen all the videos of the equalising goal and Zander Clark’s part in it is incredible.
Now see this. This is football.
The hunger, the desire, the fight, the passion, that never say die attitude.
Don't let anyone ever try and tell or show you different!
— St. Johnstone FC (@StJohnstone) April 26, 2021
It goes to show that causing a bit of chaos can sometimes work in sport.
You’ve seen Ronnie O’Sullivan try bizarre things in snooker like smashing all the reds across the table and a cricketer who just goes for everything at the end of an innings sometimes proves the hardest to get out.
In curling, you do see lower-ranked teams trying imaginative tactics.
Trust me, it can be hard to play them when you don’t know what’s coming next.
There’s no doubt that athletes are far more comfortable when things follow traditional patterns, certainly at the top of the sport.
What Zander and Saints did, and how Rangers struggled to deal with it, showed that mixing things up can bring huge rewards.