A chance conversation between two sets of parents has given Parker Janz an outstanding opportunity to develop as a curler.
During the off-season, Janz’s father, Pat, was visiting Louis Vachon and got on the topic of curling. Janz’s father mentioned that she was looking for a team, not knowing that the squad Vachon coaches — skipped by his daughter Janelle Schwindt — was looking for another teammate.
Schwindt hit the ice with Janz once and it didn’t take long for her to add the 13-year-old Souris native to the Brandon-based team.
"She loves the game so much and she wants to do everything to make herself better," Schwindt said. "That’s what you want in a player, no matter what age."
This week, Janz is playing in the Canola Provincial Junior Women’s Curling Championship at the Brandon club and is one of the youngest competitors in the field.
Janz has been awestruck at her provincial debut, but she’s enjoying every moment.
"It’s breath-taking," she said. "It’s a lot of curlingand it’s not even half done yet. It’s super exciting."
Janz initially joined the Schwindt team as its fifth, but she has played a lot this season. With Schwindt splitting time between her junior squad and playing second for Stacey Fordyce’s women’s team, Janz has ended up as the team’s lead in most of her team’s games in the Westman Junior Super League, in which they have a 9-3 record.
To get her even more experience, the team has decided to rotate Janz and Carberry’s Dori-Anne Vince at lead in provincials, where Schwindt has posted a 0-4 record.
That move has been a little shocking for Janz as some of her competitors are seven or eight years older than her, but she’s been holding her own on the ice, partially because of the way she approaches each game.
"It’s intense because they’re so much older than me, but I’ve learned to not think of how young I am (and think) they’re the same age as me and not eight years older than me," said Janz, who has played in two games for Schwindt this week. "Just forget the age and play."
While Janz, who started curling seven years ago, isn’t playing every game for the Schwindt team, she’s basking in the opportunity to be on the ice and hopes to roll this experience into a successful junior career.
Schwindt believes Janz has everything it takes to be successful and hopes she will develop into one of Westman’s top young curlers.
"Just how much she loves the sport and wants to get better, she’ll go far," Schwindt said.