FROM the start of these Olympic Trials, Chelsea Carey felt warmed by the embrace of the hometown fans, the way their voices narrate every local's throw.
Make the takeout, for instance, and bask in the glowing cheers. It's different when a curler misses a shot, though, like Carey did on her final stone in the eighth end of Tuesday afternoon's draw. It was just a bad throw, Carey said later, the last blow of a "perfect storm" of mistakes that stalked her rink that frame. The miss gave Saskatoon's Stefanie Lawton a chance to score four and take a 6-3 lead. When it happened, 6,000 fans offered a mournful moan.
"Then you get the collective, 'Ohhhhhh, ' " Carey said after the loss, with a wry sort of smile.
"And I'm like, 'Don't do that to me! I'm already thinking that!' But that's the thing about playing in front of live crowds, it's great. It's an experience like no other."
Carey and her rink, which includes lead Lindsay Titheridge, second Kristen Foster and third Kristy McDonald, rebounded from that big setback, grabbing two points in the ninth to pull the game within one. But the team couldn't find a steal in the final end and fell 7-5 instead.
"We've had some breaks in other games, so they all balance out," she said. "They go for you and against you, pretty much just as often."
With the loss, Carey fell to 2-2 through the first three days of the Roar of the Rings, though that puts her team right in the thick of things. Four of the eight women's teams at the Roar were bunched in the middle after Tuesday's draw, none too high and only two of the eight shaping up to be too low.
Atop the standings after the first four games, young Edmonton skip Val Sweeting and Winnipeg's own Jennifer Jones were both 3-1. Not that Jones was looking at the leaderboards, she said, as she grinned in the wake of her 7-2 rout of Grande Prairie's Team Renee Sonnenberg in eight ends.
"We generally know because of you guys what's going on," she quipped at media, with a wink. "We have three games left and it's a tight round robin. We know we're going to have to go out and play well, and we just want to make the playoffs."
Underneath those two leaders, a cluster of Lawton, Carey, Heather Nedohin and reigning Canadian champion Rachel Homan all sat at 2-2 -- Nedohin climbing there after beating Sweeting 6-5, Homan after clambering past Ontario's Sherry Middaugh 6-5 in an extra end.
In the basement after Tuesday afternoon's draw, Sonnenberg and Middaugh sat at 1-3. In a tournament where the top three will go on to the playoffs, it will be tough for those two to make it in now, a fact to which Sonnenberg seemed resigned after Tuesday's loss.
"Jennifer, they're a world-class team, fair enough," Sonnenberg said, minutes after extending Jones her hand.
"You can't get behind, we did, we'll take our lumps. Three losses is going to be tough. We're going to try to win our last three and then if things go our way and if we somehow squeak a tiebreaker, then we'll be thrilled. But right now we just want to... play well in our last three."