It feels so weird to be writing this from the comfort of my room, rather than a hotel room, airport terminal, airplane or Tokyo train. I can’t believe we’ve been home for two weeks already. Time really does fly. I just want to say thank you to everyone who followed my blog as we travelled around Japan. It made me really happy to read the emails parents were sending my teammates with praise for my blog, and how excited they were to read it every day. For that, I thank you so much for the support, and as promised, I have included pictures from our trip in this blog. And will probably include some more, as more are put on Facebook.
The Stingers arrived back to Montreal two Thursdays ago and were met by typical Montreal weather, cold and snowing. I was happy to be back with my family and in my own bed, although I missed having my team around. I was also so happy to have a slice of pizza, since dairy isn’t commonly found in Japanese cuisine and I love eating cheese and yogurt! It was heaven. I didn’t sleep on the plane ride to Toronto and had a nice nap on the way to Montreal, but nonetheless I was exhausted when I finally got home. My parents kept me up a little bit in order to try and get back on a regular sleeping schedule. My dad travels all over the world on a regular basis, so he’s a pro at conquering jet lag. I think the adrenaline of our trip helped us adjust to the time change in Japan quicker than we readjusted to life in Montreal. We found ourselves eating and sleeping at weird times and struggling to stay awake during the day without naps. To top it all off, we missed the entire first week of school, so we had to get back into our academic routine rather quickly.
On top of getting back into the swing of things in Montreal and at school, we faced McGill last Friday night. It was a “SWARM” game at Concordia, meaning that the SWARM club, which organizes “pep rallies” and tries to increase turnout at Stinger games, showed up to our game with over 200 students. The atmosphere in the arena was unlike anything I have ever experienced in my 1.5 years as a Stinger. While the game ended 4-0 in favor of McGill, I think we really played well and deserve credit for playing a physical game. It can be intimidating playing them, but this time, we really stepped up the challenge and didn’t back down. We were aggressive, strong on the puck and tenacious. I’m really proud of my team. Since we’ve gotten back from Japan, the intensity of our play has been significantly higher. Practices are conducted at a much higher pace. We are more accountable for our actions, there is more on-ice communication and there is a lot more off-ice communication between lines, talking about things we did well and things we can improve. A theme I’ve tried to play with this past month is “how can I make next shift better than my previous one?” Even if it’s a small adjustment, I try and improve in every situation.
Nonetheless, the standings don’t lie and we have a challenge ahead of us as we approach February and playoffs. That being said, I have no doubt in my mind that we are going to climb the standings and make an impact in February and March this year. It starts this weekend, with two big games against our rivals, the Universite de Montreal Carabins and the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees. Every game from now on will be like a playoff game in terms of battling and intensity. All games promise to be very exciting, filled with emotion.
I think it’s time for me to keep reading my textbooks and get some sleep in preparation for a big weekend this weekend. Here is a sample of pictures from Japan. Hope you enjoy!
With Stinger Pride,