I am very excited to be blogging for this site, and I want to promote it as much as possible. So, the other day, I found myself affixing my “Live the Dream” sticker to the back of my car, and I started thinking, “What is this dream anyway?”
For me, hockey literally did start with a dream. Six years ago, I was at an AHL game–the Grand Rapids Griffins were my local team. I had been to many of their games, was an avid fan of the Red Wings and the Griffins, but I had never played hockey of any sort before or even been on skates. I was purely a spectator and not a participant, as were almost all the gals my age in West Michigan. In fact, I knew very few guys who played either.
I must have been paying special attention to the skating skills of the Griffins players during that game because, that night, I went to sleep and dreamt that I was playing hockey. What was most remarkable about the dream was that I was ice skating and the sensation in my sleep was one of gliding and moving much faster than I could run. The feeling of freedom and effortless velocity was euphoric, and when I awoke, I decided—I was going to learn to skate and play hockey.
My first few times on the ice, trying to teach myself to skate at open skate, were less than smooth, fast, or effortless. But over time, I got the basics of skating down.
But my dream didn’t end there. Before I’d ever played my first game of hockey, I moved to Canada. My dream was to make friends in my new country. I had a very basic level of skating at that time, and I joined a women’s rec hockey league. I was placed on a team with some of the most wonderful and supportive women, all excellent hockey players. I learned so much from them and I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Another dream fulfilled.
Throughout my life, I also dreamed of traveling to exotic locales, especially those in northern climates. Sure enough, last year I was fortunate enough to travel to Iceland to play in a women’s rec hockey tournament, and this year, I am going again, this time with a team I’ve organized myself. Visiting Iceland in itself is like a dream, as the country could be described as a dreamscape, but being able to say that I’ve played hockey internationally outside of North America is something I wouldn’t have dreamed possible for me six years ago.
I don’t think I ever dared to dream that I could play sports with Olympians or professional athletes, but sure enough, two weeks ago, I did just that! In a tournament in Toronto, several members of the Toronto Furies, including members of the Canadian Women’s National hockey team, were allocated across a bracket of women’s rec teams. To be able to say that one of Canada’s top female hockey players on another team intercepted one of my errant passes is remarkable enough, but then, in my final game of that tournament, I actually scored a goal, assisted by my teammate, a member of the Furies (thanks, Lexie!!). An experience like that is beyond a dream, because I would have never dared to dream such a dream!
I believe that when Jaclyn, the creator and editor of this site, chose the slogan, “Live the Dream,” she was thinking about the dream of young hockey players to play at the collegiate, professional, or national level, and sure enough, she provides resources for to support that dream on this site. But, I can say, from my own experience, that even as an adult recreational player with only four years of experience, I have been able to live so many dreams of my own through hockey. So, regardless of your age, hockey experience, or ability, you can find so much personal fulfillment in hockey! You know what your dreams are—you may be able to accomplish them through playing hockey. Take the initiative—live the dream!!