Having two older brothers it wasn’t long after the ballet attempt that I learned to skate. By 3 years old I was on the frozen ponds stick in hand. At 5 I joined my first team and that was it. I had begun a 19 year journey that would take me through the some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my adolescence.
Looking back now I realize I was never that skilled as a hockey player, but I got lucky with a few qualities that still help me succeed in sports today.
The stuff you can’t teach.
1. The love of the sport. This is the single most important thing in my opinion. Whatever sport a kid is playing, it can’t become a job. They have to LOVE going to the rink, field, track, court, whatever. If it’s not fun, what is the point anyways? I can remember the feeling of butterflies at school knowing I got the play that night. Even a practice made me feel this way. I could not wait. I still can’t.
2. The deep rooted, uncontrollable, physically gut burning, NEED to win. To prove every single day that this was my game. This was MY ice.
3. Realizing that if #2 was truly how you felt that the game would be won outside of the rink. By 13 I was running, lifting, shooting pucks, learning more about the game and my body. What food gave me the most energy. How much sleep led to peak performance? What pre game routine? What warm up?
5. Parents that nailed it. This deserves it’s own post, and I’ll get there
I consider the glory days ages 12 – 16. They didn’t just consist of hockey but a combo of ringette, fast pitch, field hockey, and ice hockey. I am still so thankful for these years. I met some amazing people and learned so many things about being an athlete and life in general.
One of the best part of these years was when I was 16 and played for the Vancouver Griffins. This was an NWHL team in Vancouver that brought up players like Cammi Granato and Shelly Looney of Team USA.
I had 5 goals for my career:
- To Make Team BC
- To be the Captain of Team BC
- To get a hockey scholarship to a Div 1 NCAA School
- To play Women’s Professional Hockey
- To be on Team Canada
I went 4/5. I should have been pleased with that, but instead I was pretty focused on not accomplishing the 5th.
In 2003 in Canada Winter Games, the glory days ended on a dime. It was arguably the worst game I’ve played in any sport to date. I have thought about this endlessly and could write a report on why I played that way but there is no need. I learned what I needed to and moved on, eventually. There happened to be a scout from Yale there that day who I had been in talks with. They dropped me like a sack of potatoes after this performance. Things were never really the same after.
My parents had never seen my play that poorly and didnt’ know how to react. This was the note the wrote for me. I still have it.
I would end up going to St. Cloud state in the NCAA on a scholarship and played for 2 years. I transferred back up to UBC to finish out my career. Well, more of fizzled out. It wasn’t fun anymore and my play reflected that.
After hockey ended I went through the typical ‘ life after hockey’ depression. I had defined myself as a hockey player for my entire life. Suddenly when it’s over you’re not really sure who or what you are anymore.
Turns out I’m an athlete, not just a hockey player. I just love sports. ALL of them. I love the training, the mental battles, the injuries, the nutrition, the competition, the friendships, the chirping, and the winning.