One of the largest mental confusions of my life has been happening for I don’t know… a solid 2 and a half years. I really didn’t have much flexibility with making my own decisions while growing up. Most of you who knew me through grade school, know I was heavily involved in athletics. My parents had me in everything under the sun. I will tell you that, I did not like most of them.
If I had been able to choose, I would have been in plays, speech club, dance, and things of that nature. My parents love me, and this has nothing to do with a diss towards them. For having them put me in sports like hockey made me who I am. It was one, if not the most, important life experience I have been through thus far.
When I was younger I was painfully shy. I’m saying so shy if someone took my hat and thought it was there’s I would have let them keep it, so I could avoid confrontation. Which made it very difficult when it came time for me to voice how I felt about things. My dad was a fantastic runner through high school and college. In fact, he received a full ride to the U of M for Track and Field from his talent. That is what made his life special, and I know he wanted nothing more but for his kids to experience the same glory. Thing is… I am not like my dad in that way. I had no ambition towards being a superstar athlete.
When I was in 3rd grade I started a fall down hockey league. I remember how fun and innocent it was. It was still co-ed at this point, and I was with mostly boys, who were already practicing how to check each other. I just wanted to skate around. When you skate on ice, it is walking on water. You start to glide, and a cold breeze slips across your face, a delicate balancing act of sharp metal on smooth ice. This was my first taste of hockey, and it was good.
Once you progress into the older levels it gets heavily competitive. I know a lot if not every girl on my team had a parent in the background critiquing them. Wanting their kid to be the best. This is where all of the bad starts manifesting. I know there were parents who were just happy their kid was doing something, but I also know hockey is an incredibly political sport. It’s not like track where if your the fastest well your #1, a lot goes into it.
Once it started to get political that’s when things got rough. I was put into a situation where I was not the best, but was expected to be it. When you are in a sport the way you get good is by one- be a natural, or two- love what your doing so much that you work hard to achieve it. I was not a natural, nor did I love what I was doing.
I could get into all the fall outs, tears, and moments of misery but there is no use. Many arguments leading nowhere, and confrontations that I would like to keep private.It took me a while to get over how traumatic being in hockey was for me, as strange as that might seem. Now, I wouldn’t take it back, but I would not want to be apart of that again. I see the other girls reminiscing about it, and wishing they could just “play one more game” and I am like.. sounds like a nightmare.
My dad didn’t understand why I didn’t want to try my best, and I had a coach who for some reason didn’t like me. I was still very shy, and didn’t make myself obvious. I didn’t want the attention. My dad is a very competitive person. He wanted to see me flourish and be amazing! Putting me in year round camps, I often was in a few sports at once so id have 2-3 practices a day to attend. It took a toll on my body. I only got injured twice in my athletic career: a broken collar bone, and a sprained ankle. Even when your injured, there is this unspoken rule that you need to be back as soon as possible, even if your not completely healed. There were times were I was still in pain, but there was no use even speaking up about it, since then you get sat and left feeling guilty.
I grew to resent it, I was exhausted. Id look at the kids who got to go home right after school with envy. I’d have morbid fantasy’s of getting injured too badly to finish the season, it was misery. I often wanted to quit before high school was over. My dad refused saying “id come this far your not a quitter” but in my head I was fine being a quitter.
I was not a coaches favorite either, in fact I think he wasn’t fond of me at all. He was nice enough because he had to be, he was a coach, but honest I thought he was slightly crazy, and I was semi of scared of him. I never wanted to talk to him, or be called into his office. He was never kind or very encouraging with me. I can understand now, I wasn’t going to go off and try to play in college. He wanted to be a all star coach, and worked with the top players of our team. Probably having aspirations of moving up to a college level. He did a fine enough job since we made it to state my senior year. I’m sure if there are any ex players reading, they might have different opinions about this. I will leave them with: to each there own.
When I would get called into his office, I was always told pretty much that I wasn’t good enough. I would leave in held back tears, to a sea of eyes curious about what went on in the meeting we’d had in the office. I just didn’t feel valued, I felt all the work I did for the sport was wasteful.
After the last hockey game I ever had I really didn’t know what to do. I remember it was late, I sat on my living room couch and sobbed. I couldn’t pin why I was crying so hard. I was so relived to never have to go and do that again, but it was also bitter-sweet. I had NO IDEA what to do with myself. Id never chosen what I wanted to do. I really didn’t know who I was or what I was good at! 3 months tell I graduate high school and I’m having a mid life crisis.
People always ask me why I don’t do anything with hockey any more. My answer is because I don’t want to. I have no passion for it. I’d teach kids to skate but that’s about it.
What I took away from it all was an immense amount of mental strength, I was sharpening my warrior steal. I grew to not be as shy, and see what injustice is. I met some awesome people through my experience, they were the only reason I would enjoy going. How working as a team is an invaluable skill. No matter what other think, what you think is all that matters. To was the catalyst to send me off into what I am ambitious and extremely competitive about.
I had a hard time writing this. I didn’t know what I felt comfortable sharing, so this is a faint outline of my experience.
Feel free to comment to get anymore clarification, or information.
Thanks for reading guys, means a lot.