‘Many reasons to be excited’: Nova Scotia lead first deaf curler to compete in Scotties

Emma Logan, 22, is living her “absolute dream” playing in her very first Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

The Nova Scotia lead is curling with her aunt, five-time Canadian champion Mary-Anne Arsenault.

“There are so many reasons to be excited to be here,” Logan said. “On top of all of that, I’m quite proud to be representing my deaf and hard-of-hearing community.”

Logan lost her hearing from meningitis when she was 13 months old. She’s now the first deaf curler to ever compete at the Scotties.

Nova Scotia skip Mary-Anne Arsenault calls line during Monday’s afternoon draw against Newfoundland.
Nova Scotia skip Mary-Anne Arsenault calls line during Monday’s afternoon draw against Newfoundland. Allison Bamford / Global News

But her journey to the national championship was far from easy. And at times, Logan didn’t think her dream was possible.

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“There were certain parts this season where I questioned whether or not I was going to make it here because it got quite tough,” Logan said.

The team started the season like any other.

“We had no idea how much she was missing, she didn’t know how much she was missing,” Arsenault said. “How would you know if you don’t know?”

Logan said they quickly realized there was a gap in communication.

“That undoubtedly came from myself and missing line calls and communication with the other sweepers,” Logan said.

Communication is a key part of any sport, especially curling. Split-second reactions can be the difference between a shot made or missed.

That’s why the foursome decided to get creative, using a Bluetooth microphone that’s connected to Logan’s cochlear implants.

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“We wear the mic sweeping alongside Emma,” said Christina Black, Team Nova Scotia’s third. “I can communicate with her as it goes down the ice.”

Before the team started practicing with the mic, Black said they’d have to “shove their hands in front of [Logan’s] face” to tell her to stop sweeping.

“It’s unbelievable it’s made such a difference on our team,” Black said.

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Emma Logan slides out of the hack during Monday’s afternoon draw at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Emma Logan slides out of the hack during Monday’s afternoon draw at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Allison Bamford / Global News

It’s an obstacle most teams don’t have to overcome, but now the Nova Scotia rink is ready for anything the Scotties throws its way.

“We know how to communicate, we know we have what it takes to get here, so now it’s about peaking at the right time and keeping the momentum going,” Logan said.

Maybe it was fate

But even with all the trial and error, Logan’s dream might not have happened had Arsenault’s rink made it to the 2019 Scotties.

“We had a bit of unfinished business after last year’s loss in [Nova Scotia’s provincial] final,” Arsenault said. “We weren’t quite sure what the takeaway from it was because we felt like we had outplayed the other team. We just had an unlucky last 10th end.”

Arsenault, a big believer in “all things happen for a reason,” said she quickly learned it meant she was “supposed to go to the Scotties with Emma.”

“Had we won last year, I would have retired at the end of Sydney never having played with Emma. So here we are,” Arsenault said.

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Whether fate played a part or not, this will be Arsenault’s first and last time curling with her niece on Team Nova Scotia. Arsenault and her husband are moving to B.C. after this season.

But Arsenault said it doesn’t mean she’s quitting curling. She’s just taking on a “fun, new adventure.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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