From Jan. 2013 to Feb. 2014, the 14 months leading up to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, "14 for 14" will profile 14 athletes who hope to make the U.S. team for the Games. Visit USParalympics.org on the 14th of each month for the latest "14 for 14".
My name is Meghan Lino and I am a hopeful for the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in wheelchair curling. I've been curling for four years, ever since I attended a friend’s charity event for the Cape Cod Curling Club (Paralympic Sport Club Cape Cod) in 2009.
I am currently in Sochi for the World Wheelchair Curling Championships, which start Saturday, as the alternate for Team USA and hope to return to Russia in March 2014 for my first Games. Here are 14 things you need to know as I strive toward Sochi:
1. I use to think my coach Tony Colacchio was crazy.
He told me and my four Cape Cod Curling Club teammates, after we had met previous members of the U.S. wheelchair curling team, that we would be them one day. I looked at him like he was crazy. I never dreamed I'd make it this far, but now I am the No. 2 female in the country. I am excited to be a part of Team USA.
2. My biggest fear is being alone.
The scariest thought to me would be not having my family around. I have one sister and we make up six cousins on both sides of my family. We all get together for holidays since everyone is local. It makes for long-lasting time spent together and I would hate for them to not be around.
3. I have a really bad habit.
Ever since I was little, I have been biting my fingernails. I picked it up from my mom, even though she tried to make me quit with terrible tasting nail polish. I wish I didn't do it, but I do. It is my worst habit.
4. I'm inked.
I have two tattoos. The first tattoo I got was in memory of my grandmother. I got the second after a wheelchair curling competition a little over a year ago. My sister found a picture of a line drawing of a wheelchair curler and I knew that’s exactly what I wanted. I love curling and I love tattoos. I plan on getting two more after the Games, if I make the team, to represent U.S. Paralympics and the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
5. Good beats pump me up.
Before games, I like to listen to hip hop and rap songs that really have good beats. I can't listen to anything slow before a game, but most of the time the music I listen to depends on my mood.
6. In human years, my dog is old.
Dylan is my 15 year-old mutt. He is Chihuahua, Pomeranian, beagle, lab and Golden Retriever. He's just a little bit of everything. He is small but I love him so much. I love to spend time with him around the house. Whenever I can't sleep, he stay up with me.
7. I love the Food Network.
Anything on the Food Network, I will watch, especially love Chopped and Restaurant Impossible. Food Network is my favorite. As far as movies go, I love The Wrestler and 12 Rounds with John Cena.
8. WWE Monday Night Raw is my favorite.
I am really into WWE wrestling, and I watch it every Monday. My favorite wrestler is The Undertaker. I've always liked him. My second favorite has to be John Cena. I have three autographed photos of his and two wrist bands from him personally. My nurse at the hospital actually went to high school with him, so that was really cool to meet him.
9. I'd rather spend time with my grandparents than a celebrity.
If I could spend a day with anyone dead or alive, I would spend it with my grandparents. I really miss my grandma since she died a few years ago. I had never met my dad’s dad, so I think it would be really cool to hang out with him and see what he was like.
10. I want a muscle car.
I don't really like girly things; I’m more of a tomboy. I really like old, classic muscle cars. My dad has a classic ’67 car and I think they are just built so much better than they are now. I also go to old car shows during the summer, so if I were to have my dream car, it’d be one of them.
11. I'm not afraid of a challenge.
Before a match, I don't really do anything different than I would before practice, but I do like to concentrate on my strategy for the game right then and there. I block everything else out. I try to do everything to the best of my ability. When I’m faced with a challenge I am more apt to go all in than step aside.
12. Fishing is one of my favorite hobbies.
In Cape Cod, being on the water so often, we do a lot of fishing. I can't wait until it's warm again so my cousins and I can get back out there and enjoy the sun. It’s just relaxing and a fun time with family.
13. There’s nothing like fresh, Cape Cod seafood.
I love any type of seafood but there is no fresher fish than Cape Cod's. When we fish, it is usually catch and release, but there are occasions where we keep our catches and eat them. There are so many types of delicious fish, not to mention shell fish, to eat in Cape Cod.
14. The curling ice is a great social scene.
The best thing about curling is the camaraderie of being on a team. I absolutely love meeting new people. Curling lets me be myself and be outgoing. I also get to travel, which I had never done before curling.