By CHARLES TWEED
Merope and Celaeno, not familiar with the names? The two are sister stars that shine in the Taurus constellation. Both bright, both individual but at the same time one cannot exist without the other, their paths constantly influenced by what the other is doing.
Well, it now appears Ponoka has their own version of the stars as two local sisters are preparing to head the Canada Games in Halifax, N.S. Feb. 11 to 27.
Brooke and Maddison Pearman will represent Team Alberta in short track speed skating during the first week of the games.
“It was a long wait in order to find out but it was really exciting. I was so happy. Unbelievably happy,” said a smiling Brooke, who is 17 and competing in her first and last games.
She’ll be older than the 19-year-old age limit the next time the event is held in four years.
Maddison, 14, will have an opportunity to possibly compete in two Canada Games but wasn’t looking that far ahead yet. “It was amazing, I was so excited. Being able to make the team was really awesome.”
The road — or lane in this case —to success hasn’t been as smooth as one might think for the girls. There’s a sentiment in this country that hockey players are the toughest athletes in the world. Well, move over Jarome Iginla and Ryan Smyth because the Pearman sisters are going to give you a run for your money.
Just weeks into the season, during a cross-country event, Maddison fractured her ankle. With trials for the team taking place at the end of November, a sense of devastation and despair set in. After months of dry-land training and several trips to Edmonton and Red Deer to skate, it appeared she would have to wait for her chance to represent the province.
The adversity may have been her best motivation, “I felt like the season was over. I was off skating for a whole month, which was really hard. But then I got back into it; I started training ten times harder,” said Maddison.
The dedication paid off with a third-place finish — the top five go on to represent Alberta.
Brooke faced her own challenges during the trial process after she fractured her wrist. The injury wasn’t about to keep her out of competition. With a cast on her arm, Brooke placed second in the trials.
Once again the Pearman girls had managed to turn a negative into a positive.
Overcoming adversity may have made the girls stronger competitors, but one doesn’t have to look very far to see where the speed skating genes come from. The girls’ mother, Shawna Pearman, is a speed skater herself and is proud of how the girls have both pushed and supported each other.
“I grew up speed skating, so it’s part of my background and it’s something that both my husband and I never forced the girls to do. We gave them the choice and they loved it,” said Shawna.
That love will pay off on Feb. 12, when the games will offer the sisters an opportunity to compete in front of large crowds against the best junior competition in the county. The magnitude of the stage is an important step in the growth of any athlete. And doubly important as both girls say the national team and the Olympics are goals they have set for the future.
A future with not just one Pearman star, but two shining brightly.