The Special Olympics has an oath spoken at the start of every event.
"Let me win. If I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
It is simple and powerful. It conveys the desire for competition and confronts the possibility of failure. Underneath, it implores athletes to show sportsmanship and support for their opponents.
It is a pledge the Exploits Hurricanes competitive curling team follows each time they hit the ice.
And it helped drive the team to new heights this season as the national Special Olympics Team of the Year.
Members of the team are Joshua Gardner, Kim O’Neill, Tony Kryitsis, Margaret MacNeil and Gary Wicks. Their coaches are Joe Tremblett and Sara Pinsent.
“(The athletes) were flabbergasted when they won the award,” said head coach Tremblett. “They still don’t think it is fully real. It still hasn’t sunk in.”
The Hurricanes curling squad had quite a year. The four-year-old team won the gold medal at the provincial Special Olympics Winter Games in March and followed the win with their selection as Grand Falls-Windsor's Team of the Year.
Honours continued to accumulate when they were also named the province’s Special Olympics Team of the Year in 2018.
“They’ve had a great year,” said Tremblett.
Ask people around the Hurricanes team and they’ll tell you members are great competitors and even better teammates.
They rarely acknowledge mistakes, opting to pick each other up instead. Small details can throw off sports players but Hurricanes athletes are always supporting each other and defeating frustration.
“They are the reflection of team spirit,” said Pinsent. “They definitely show sportsmanship.”
The team shines beyond the curling rink.
They’ve become great ambassadors for the club, the sport and the Special Olympics. When there is something to be done, they’re usually the first ones to volunteer.
“They’re so respectful,” said Tremblett. “There is no hassle with them.
“They’re always happy and they’re always a team.”