In the case of being the only girl on the team one quickly learns the rules of the game:
- no one really wants you to be there
- no one talks to you
- no one passes you up as a target on the ice
- no one who is on your side has the power to spare you from this devastating experience.
All too frequently there is no one to tell these stories. Sometimes, however, there is one story that has an opportunity to be told. In that case, it takes a Mom to best tell it.
“When Cheyenne was 11 years old she went to the rink socially for the Friday Night Skate in the Armory. She would see the hockey players from the Boys Youth leagues practicing and decided she wanted to give it a try. Chey was involved in a few other sports like soccer and softball, but I could tell they could not keep her interest. And she loved skating.
I didn’t know what we were in for as far as the expenses went, but took a chance that we would spend all this money on gear and that she would et picked. So we purchased the
gear and signed her up for try outs. Well, she took to it like it was her job and
developed such a passion for hockey that I truly never expected. She played in that house league for three years, took private lessons and she just blossomed.
When Cheyenne reached high school age, she obviously could not play house league any longer and the decision was made to attend a school that had a hockey program. During Open House we signed Cheyenne up, fully intending for her to play for her high school. She was bursting with excitement. She was invited to play the HS spring league in the April before high school started and she did really well, even scored a goal. She was the only girl though, and that started to become a problem. I have it on absolute authority that no one, not one boy on the team even talked to her. Not even one of all those boys. Not even once.
School started and tryouts were in November for three grueling days at 5:30 in the morning. Cheyenne worked so hard and she was so confident that she was going to make the team. On the third day after tryouts were over, she was called into the office
and told she ‘was cut’. Needless to say, Cheyenne was completely devastated. I couldn’t even send her to school that day, it was one of the worst days I can remember for her.
I contacted the coach and asked him why Cheyenne was not selected. Using the vaguest of terms, he implied that it was a gender issue. He also suggested that Cheyenne get her experience by playing in a Girls travel league. I took that advice. They accepted her immediately, and this helped her get through one of the biggest disappointments she ever had and it built her confidence again.
Hockey has become an extension of Cheyenne, she could never imagine her
life without it. And now she gets to play for Rowan University, she gets to be a part
of history in the making. As the first recruit for the first Women’s Team my daughter hopes to be an integral part of her team. She wants to have an influence in helping to develop a committed work ethic for her program. Chey has worked very hard to get here. She wants the future incoming to know that you need to work hard to stay here too.”
Mrs. Jackie Matus,
Proud Hockey Mom
Author’s Note – To elaborate on a loving mother’s comments, kindly note that Cheyenne Matus is, in fact, the very 1st recruit in the history of Rowan U Women’s Hockey. You may be interested to know that I went to see a different player but came home intent on signing Chey. As for her capability and her commitment, I offer this bit of info~ next year, Cheyenne Matus, then still only a Sophomore, will be wearing an A on the front of her jersey. It will stand for Ass’t Captain, of course, but will also lend itself to words like Ability, Attitude, and Always – as in always the first to say “yes’ to the game that had regrettably told her ‘no’ as a youth. Chey Matus, Assistant Captain….it’s simply the right step in the right direction.