Another semester in the books, another chunk of the season now in the past. As I sit here and think about where the time has gone…I realize how much it scares me knowing I only have three semesters left before graduating and becoming a “real person”. Let’s just say, with everything I have to figure out for the future, there is so much I have been thinking about, including the reasons I do what I do.
I always knew that playing sports would teach me something that I otherwise wouldn’t have learned. I never realized how true that has been until recently on a phone interview with a potential employer as an intern…but really who doesn’t just roll their eyes and not listen to your parents and numerous coaches. Throughout the years, hockey has taught me nothing but how to play the sport where you put the biscuit in the basket and light the lamp…something you couldn’t hear coming out of my mouth anymore. I mean, let’s be honest, I’ve also learned how to throw up a great cele…so it’s clearly a lot more than I ever thought. Seriously though, who would have thought that having “member of varsity women’s ice hockey team at Saint Michael’s College” on my resume would be the main thing setting me apart from another applicant…I am just another athlete out of the thousands in this world. I guess my lucky self really realized the lifelong skills that moment that hockey has taught me…well, I would have to say that lacrosse and every sport I have ever competed in had contributed. Teamwork, compassion, conflict, dedication, motivation, selflessness, determination all come to mind. Honestly, the list could go on. But hey, anyone can walk around saying these things. The difference, a different kind of dedication, a different mindset overall. It’s a hatred inside that is unexplainable because representing something much bigger than myself on my jersey is something some people don’t get to experience, something they will never understand. It’s about fighting till you have nothing left in you to win. Letting your determination and heart come before your body’s needs. It’s about the feeling of a victory with your family, one that makes you appreciate and truly understand what hard work means. It’s the determination to not let anything stand in your way, whether it be personal, family, school. It’s throwing on that jersey playing not to be in shape and do some extracurricular if you will, but to play for your family, friends, school, for the ones who aren’t lucky enough to have this opportunity, just for the love of the game. When asked about the season, it’s that goofy grin I can’t wipe off no matter how hard I try. The times I heard “you can’t do that” or “you’re not good enough” only gave me more motivation to go out there and prove people wrong. Little did those people know it, it truly helped me succeed, so thank you for doubting me.
This season so far has been one of ups and downs. We have improved and are further ahead than we were at this point in the season last season. With two wins and a handful of losses, finishing off the year, we all take this break regrouping and getting ready to be able to spend two weeks together simply playing the sport we love without ANY distractions. Heading back the first day of the new year is my most awaited moment. There is no excuses for about two weeks, no school, no people besides ourselves on campus, truly nothing on our minds but eat, sleep, hockey. This is our time to thrive, our time to step up and start doing what we want to do. As I have written about in the past, you can look at our record and shake your head. Or you can look at our record and look at our loss column, see the scores…the numerous brutal one-goal losses that populate our heads. You can see that we are a team full of talented players who improve every day, who see the ice as the most beautiful thing to look at, who can persevere and stay determined and motivated to storm through just about anything, even with losses supporting us. What people don’t see are the lessons that we all have coming out of each and every game that no record can show. To me, it’s those lessons that I truly cherish from my experience so far. That when things seem to get low, you gotta keep your head high and keep at it. The emphasis coach puts on adapting and learning to be flexible. Whether it’s a late arrival before a game or the varsity weight room having schedule mix up, learning to adjust and adapt to life is key to success. When I first realized that Saint Mike’s was my home, Coach Donovan told me that his main goal was to make sure that we walk out of this place as a different person than we walked in. Even with three semesters left, I already can see how much I have changed, how my values, work ethic, and personality have been altered. Things don’t come easy in life and hockey has done nothing but hold that true. No better feeling than when hard work truly does pay off.