The Things They Carried Narrative | Teen Ink

The Things They Carried Narrative

May 21, 2019
By akrawitz, Park Ridge, Illinois
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akrawitz, Park Ridge, Illinois
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Author's note:

This is a true story told through the eyes of a hockey player

The author's comments:

This is a true story.

The Time a Hockey Player was scared

This is a story about something that you've probably never thought about. This story is about a side of hockey players you've never considered. When someone thinks of a hockey player they think of a person who is very big, tough and doesn't get scared easily. I myself am a hockey player but, I don't exactly fit the stereotype. I am not that big, I am not that tough, and I am certainly not fearless.

I currently play hockey for a small house league team called the Rangers located in Niles. The team I am on is a midget team, which means that it is ages 14-18.

This is a story about a time I got scared while playing hockey.

It was our 6th game of the season. I usually play as a right-wing. Someone who plays a winger, is usually someone who is fast, has a good shot, and plays pretty physical because they have to go in the other team's zone get the puck and score. The right wing is the position that I have been playing as for as long as I have been playing hockey. I always play as a right wing in practices and games. I am very used to playing as a wing, and I think that I am pretty good at it. My team being a midget team has kids that are only 14 years old and in 8th grade still and they are very small, compared to me who is 17 and average in size. I would like to think that the younger kids on my team look up to me because I am one of the oldest and best on the team. I think they view me as some big very skilled player who plays fairly physical. Because they think I am this big amazing player, I have to act like it. This has caused a conflict recently because, at our 5th game of the season, we were missing a few players that would normally play defense. I knew that there was a chance that I would need to fill in for defense because I am one of the better players on the team. Before the game I was nervous. My coach didn't tell me anything until after warmups and the game was about to start. He said what I did not want to hear.

“Starting on defense I want Andrew and Sammy.”

“Coach are you sure,” I said.

“Yes, we are down a few players and I need you to cover for them”.

At first, I was a little shocked because I have never played or practiced paying as a defenseman, but after a while, the shock went away and I was hit with the realization that I was going to have to play defense and I started to get a little nervous. Some people might think that it is not that big of a deal they think that if you can play offense you can play defense just fine. This is not the case at all, defense requires a whole new set of skills like being exceptionally good at skating backward, or having a good slapshot that I normally don't practice because I play offense. Me not having all the skills necessary to play defense isn't what made me nervous though. What made me nervous was the responsibility of being on defense. People who play offense are supposed to help out on defense, they are supposed to try and stop the other player before they make it to the defense. Sometimes, the offense can't stop the other player, and then it is just left up to the defense. Defensemen are supposed to be the barrier that separates the other team from your goalie, so if someone makes it past the offense the responsibility of stopping them, is all up to the defense. If the defense fails to stop the other player then they have an opportunity to score. And that is what I was afraid of. What if someone made it past the offense and it was left up to me to stop them? Would I be able to stop them? Would I be able to keep them away from out net? Or would they just blow right past me and score? That is why I was nervous, I was left to stop the other team from scoring and if they did score I would have to carry around the weight of the goal being my fault. I didn't want to let down my younger teammates that looked up to me, I still wanted to be the amazing player that they thought I was even though I was not trained in defense. After a few shifts of defense, I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it, I was no longer as nervous. Then the other team scored while I was out on the ice. That completely destroyed my spirit, I was no longer as confident even though I was playing so good. Exactly what I was afraid of happened to me. Even though my spirit was destroyed I knew that I still had to continue playing. I knew that just because I was upset, I could not stop playing, my team needed me. Throughout the rest of the game I tried even harder, I made sure that I was the first person to every loose puck, I skated as hard as I physically could. Getting scored on made me an even better player because it motivated me to try harder and try to make up for it. On my team we don't have a set captain or alternate captain, we decide who gets them for the next game based off of who played the best, and that game I got the captain because of my performance on defense. Even though we lost I was not that upset after the game because this game showed me that being afraid is something good. If you are afraid, you will try harder to fix what you are afraid of and it will end up making you a better player. I was afraid of the responsibilities of defense, but I owned up to them and it made me a better player.

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