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Minn. Curler Prepares For Third Olympic Games

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(credit: CBS) David McCoy
David McCoy joined the WCCO-TV sports team in March 2013 as a report...
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2014 Winter Olympics

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – On another chilly morning in Duluth, as the clouds roll in and the city wakes up, John Shuster is hoping his 8-month-old son Luke is ready for some sleep.

“Every day … I toss him in the car seat and head down to the (curling) club,” Shuster said. “And hope he has a long nap.”

That’s when the stay-at-home dad walks into his second home. His sanctuary.

“There’s church, and this is like Church 1A for me,” he said.

Usually the first person in the building, Shuster turns on the lights and then gets to work on his own dreams, for as long as his little companion will allow.

“Some days I get 15 rocks in, and some days he naps long enough for me to throw 50 or 75,” he said.

Shuster has honed his skill over and over and over again over the last four years in preparation for Sochi.

“For me, it’s literally just sharpening. It’s like going to the range if you’re a golfer. I’m just trying to make sure that things are all working the way I want them to work,” he said. “Have you ever thrown darts? And you’re doing that finite thing? When you’re letting go of a curling shot, for me, it’s kind of like throwing darts.”

This will be Shuster’s third Olympics. After a bronze in 2006 as a front end guy, Shuster realized his lifelong goal in 2010 of leading his own team.

He struggled, was benched and took last place. It couldn’t have gone worse.

“After it all went bad, I kind of had a moment where you had to sit back and decide whether this is something that you want to keep doing, because it was so bad,” Shuster said. “Like, I mean, it blew up so big.”

Four years later, the decision seems almost obvious now. You could call 2014 a chance at redemption, but Shuster doesn’t see it that way.

“A young girl the other day didn’t tell me ‘Good luck,'” Shuster said. “She told me ‘Have fun.’ And it really put it in perspective how lucky we are to be able to do this kind of stuff.”

It’s far from the only thing he feels lucky about these days. When little Luke wakes up from his nap, the practice session is over. And the smile on Shuster’s face is one of pure pride.

Amazing how your perspective on something as big as the Olympics can be changed by something as small as Luke.

“It’s not life and death to me when you’re curling,” he said. “(When) curling gets done, I get to come home to this guy.”

WEB EXTRA: Up Close With Team USA Curling

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