“That’s the awesome part. Little girls now have a chance to look up and see women playing soccer, basketball, softball, and now hockey–and know they can win a Gold Medal too.” - Angela Ruggiero
On February 22, 2018 the Team USA women’s hockey team beat Canada and brought home their first gold medal win since 1998. I remember watching that game on my TV that night. It was a school night and I was super tired but I needed to watch the game to see who would win the gold. When the game went into a shootout I was sitting on the edge of my bed, my eyes glued to the TV screen, just waiting for the puck to go into the net. When Jocelyne Lamoureux was up to go, I was shaking. I knew that this was it. USA is going to win. Then BAM!!! She shoots and she scores a beaut of a goal!! I was so amazed and so proud of these girls! USA beat Canada and won gold!!! Isn’t that amazing!?
Fast forward to June when I see that there is a girls Gold Medal Olympic Hockey Camp in York, Pennsylvania scheduled for August. I knew at that moment that I wanted to go. One reason was that I get to meet, and be coached by three Olympic gold medalists. The other reason was that it would be my first time playing hockey with all girls! I was so hyped to go, to meet new friends and to skate with the women who I look up to everyday.
On August 10th my family and I hit the road to York, Pennsylvania. I was nervous and excited. I did not know what to expect but I felt that it was going to be awesome. When we got there we were scheduled to go to a seminar, a position practice and then an actual practice. At the beginning of the seminar three girls walk in: Alex Rigsby, Hannah Brandt and Hailey Skarupa, and as I see them, I fan girl for a moment. This is actually them, here and in person, wow!
From that moment on the weekend got better and better—I was challenged, I met some great friends and let’s face it, I was coached by three awesome Olympians who I admire. They explained to us girls that things don’t come easy. Working so hard for their gold medals and not always getting it right the first time taught them to always work through your challenges, be strong and keep your eye on the goal you set for yourself.
On the second day of the camp, all the girls got to take pictures with Alex, Hannah and Hailey and the gold medals. Have you ever been so lucky to actually hold a gold medal? They are HEAVY and so beautiful! I felt so proud to be an American and so honored to be with such great women. My parents and my brother got in on the photo shoot and we could not stop talking about it for days.
The last day of camp was a happy and sad day. It was amazing to have met and played with so many kind and amazing girls, to be coached by Olympians and to grow as a player. The sad part was that it was the last day and all the fun would be over, but in the end, I realized that it’s awesome to step outside your comfort zone and really challenge yourself, see where opportunities lead and don’t be afraid to try new things and talk to new people.
Thank you for reading this month's blog! I hope you enjoyed it! If you want to see more, you can follow me on social: @ag.hockey97 and @agatto97. See you next month!