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Ryerson Rams, Potential Encapsulated

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I forgot about my dreams for a moment. A year, maybe two. Dreams that create that feeling of sheer exuberance to meet the day and get started. Those moments in your life where sleeping seems like a chore and life is too valuable to leave in slumber. Remember those butterflies you used to get during 7th grade math class, knowing there was hockey practice later that night? Remember jumping out of bed on a Saturday morning to meet friends on the ODR. It’s a wonder we had time to eat dinner, so determined to be Wayne Gretzky, Pavel Bure or Mats Sundin and for the odd balls –  Curtis Joseph or Martin Brodeur. While the sun had long said goodnight, or Johnny’s mom unplugged the floodlight we played our hearts out every waking minute. Nothing stopped us. Nothing made us feel inferior (besides maybe the test scores we got back from that math test we “forgot” to study for). The game was what we breathed, bled and binged on. The game was where we felt most at home. Maybe that’s why we where never there! Sadly I forgot about this tickling love, it got lost for a while, but I am glad to say it has been found. 

Some of us get so spun around as we enter the collegiate game that a lot of this pure passion gets buried somewhere. The game becomes a chore and sleep is all we look forward to. Laughs with the girls still make the day but there is anxiety lurking everywhere. Will I start? Why did I get pulled off the PK? Is coach angry today? Are we going to get bag skated? I have 3 assignments due this week and not enough java in the world could make me the energizer bunny I need to be to get through this. Why is so much expected of me???? 

There is stress and strain everywhere and entering my fourth year I think I have figured most of these things out, at least ways to manage the anxieties of the mature game. I have realized that whether we are twelve years old on the ODR, a seventeen-year-old freshman or a twenty-two year old senior, we will always be able to be students of the game. Staring at coach with wide eyes, eager to learn. Sitting in a class we like (I hope!) working towards a major we actually get to choose, dreaming about the game. Upon realizing this I have reminded myself what an occasion it is to be life’s student staring at the world with wide eyes. “Feed me what you got!” “Teach me!” “Advise me.” “Show me the way.” I’ll do anything to make the most of this opportunity. 

Currently, in this open minded state of re-acquaintance with my dreams everything seems fresh and opportune. But the anxiety can get to you if you let it, it can put you in a cage with the key misplaced. 

There is nothing more frustrating than encapsulated potential – or maybe the more frustrating term is encaged potential. Encapsulated leaves room for the potential to be used when required, like a cell of fuel awaiting ignition. Encaged is helpless to its situation; its hopeless, lost, waiting for the outside world to turn the key. The encaged tells herself she is helpless. The encapsulated knows the situation is only temporary and understands that the energy must eventually release – she knows she has the power to fire the ignition. 

What is maybe the most frustrating thing is to see how a team encapsulated and a team encage has no quantifiable difference. The only difference, albeit qualitative, being the perception of the world through their state of mind. We can chose a state of mind to look at the game with wide eyes, to understand the learning curve of being a fresh OUA team and knowing the bright future a head of us. Or we can chose to be bogged down by what we have failed to accomplish thus far. If you have read some of my older posts you will see some repeating themes about passion, hard work, incredible staff, an extremely supportive Athletics department and amazing teammates. 

Maybe in the past we have seen ourselves as encaged, but no more.  

Complacency is a plague; it sucks the vitality out of our dreams. Pursuit is vital; it brings the human soul into balance and meaning. Meaning is the root of passion; passion is the embrace of life. Maybe I am being too poetic or philosophical here, but all of a sudden in the fine words of Jimmy Cliff, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.” Turns out the rain was all made up anyway. 

Ryerson Athletics has a mission, the Rams are taking our first steps toward a legacy, and the players working in the heart of Old Maple Leaf Gardens are the encapsulation of that legacy. No one will cage us but ourselves, and we ourselves are far too deep into this to be caged now. 

Keep your heads up. 

The Rams Are Coming. 

Yours in Competition, 

Gino

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