I really enjoy reading the stories of other female hockey players featured on this website. It’s apparent that no two stories are the same. I have been struggling to write lately because I have had it that I need to portray a red-rosy picture of what it is to be a collegiate athlete and how great it is all the time. You would think after writing for WHL for four years now, I would know get the gist by now but I could not find my own voice. This time, instead of writing, I read. I read about what it was like for other athletes in the sport right now, and it was through that the wheels started turning.
Women’s Hockey Life is an incredible outlet for the women across the entire spectrum of hockey, which indefinitely means no two people are in the same spot. I was trying to force a blog that would entertain and paint a picture that life, as a collegiate hockey player, is super great all the time. (Hint: It’s not. Your legs WILL burn on a Tuesday at 6am and your brain WILL seem to be mush some days. Remember, you’re only human.) I’m not sure if anyone watched the Grammy’s the other night and listened to Sam Smith when accepting one of his awards of the evening, but he said something very important. He said that when he let go of what he thought was good and just started being himself that the successes came. I relate to him in a way that the words just don’t flow when you’re being anything but yourself. I so enjoy writing for this website, and found that honesty was the most valuable and engaging quality in the blogs that I read. So to all you fantastic hockey ladies who have been openly sharing your stories thank you for re-inspiring me.
There is no doubt I am extremely thankful to be where I am. In my second go at college hockey, I do love where I am at and wouldn’t change that for the world. In my senior year, I can easily look back and say I’ve never been so happy in my life as I have been these past four years, both at UNH and UMB. Hockey has led me to two incredible places, but it’s funny how the games and wins and numbers mean nothing in the scheme of things. Would I have loved to see UNH in the Hockey East or Frozen Four finals while I was there? Of course I would have. Would I love to be the number one goalie in the D3 USCHO poll? Who wouldn’t! To see your heart and hard work payoff is one of the best feelings in the world, but sometimes it shows up in the places you don’t see on paper.
We have struggled as a team this season, and I have struggled as a person. We had a great start and we continue to see good things happen, so not all is lost. I can really only speak for myself when I say that my best right now is just keeping my head above water. That’s a very tough thing when I am a born competitor, with myself first, and others second. There’s something about a struggle though that is extremely valuable to individuals and groups alike. If we were constantly winning, had the best players, broke records, we wouldn’t have to look in the mirror. A path of resistance forces those on it to look inward. Yes it sucks, yes it’s exhausting, it hurts, and is not the ideal, but it strengthens the core. As anyone who studies anatomy would tell you, the core is arguably the most important element to a strong body. In these moments, I am proud to be where I am. We are not super talented but we are young adults who are facing a challenge head on and that is exactly what it’s about. That is what collegiate athletics is for. It’s a playing field for determined individuals to find what it takes for the team, and recognizes their part in that. Sometimes, progress comes in the form of taking a step back, and realizing that may be the best thing you have ever done.
To anyone in a similar spot, or feels like they can relate, I will leave you with this. Keep going, you may be closer than you think to a breakthrough. And most importantly, keep those who make you better close by. No one got anywhere by himself and (you’ll thank them later).