Valuable Lessons

October 23, 2007
By
The alarm buzzes in my ear at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 10, 2007. All right, all right! I rub my eyes and jump out of bed. I stagger to the bathroom down the dark hallway bumping against the wall with my eyes barely open. I take a bitter cold shower, brush my teeth, and dress. I can’t find my damn socks! Who cares about socks? I’m thinking of only one thing, the game. I put on my shoes and head out, slamming the door behind me, making my way towards the Dining Hall for a team breakfast.
During my brisk walk to breakfast, I’m thinking of only one thing, to win the 5A Varsity State Championship Game. My teammates are sitting at a long table not talking, stuffing themselves with carbohydrates. I sit and look around as they give me reassuring looks. I sit in my own little world as I eat my oatmeal, bagel, and fruit. I’m thinking of only one thing, today’s game. When everyone is done eating, we bolt for the rink and jam our smelly hockey gear into the luggage compartments of the charter bus. Twenty- two young determined hockey players file onto the damp bus, sit anxiously, and enjoy the first-class ride to the Pepsi Center in Indy.
During the hour-and-a-half bus ride, I’m thinking of only one thing, winning the game. When the bus arrives at the rink, we all have our game faces plastered on. We unload our gear and head into the sweet aroma of the rink ready to give 100%. We shuffle into the locker room with Coach right behind us.

“Listen up, boys,” Coach yells. “Hamilton Southeastern, we’re familiar with this team.” (We know their line-up because we played them earlier this season. They’re a good team, but we are hungrier.) “What has happened earlier this season doesn’t matter,” he goes on. “We’re going to win this championship!” We all have big eyes filled with determination. “If you believe in yourselves, anything can happen.” The room lights up and everyone stares at each other with looks of self-confidence and belief. Coach’s speech inspires us. I am pumped.
I have the feeling of anticipation while lacing up my skates and strapping on my maroon helmet. I can’t wait until the drop of the puck. We’ve worked hard all season for this moment. I gather in a huddle with my teammates and shout Let’s do it! We head out of the locker room in single file towards the ice. I warm up on the ice doing stretches, passes, and practicing my slap shot until I hear the sound of the piercing buzzer. I am pumped, but nervous, I’m chewing on my mouth guard like it’s a piece of chewing gum.

They announce both teams’ line-ups and I skate over to the bench and huddle with my teammates, “ All right, boys, Eagles on three, One, Two, Three,” the captain yelled. We all put are hands together and shout, “ Eagles!” This is it, its game time! We all skate to center ice determined, hungry, and craving the same thing, to win the 5A State Championship game. The ref drops the puck and we give 100% throughout the game, which leads to a sweet victory. It doesn’t matter who scores the goals, because one person can’t win a game by himself, it takes five sticks to make that goal happen. It’s all about playing as a team.
With the season being over and my routine disrupted, I start to think about how much I miss hockey and why I play the game. It’s my passion and my comfort zone. There are many reasons why I love the game, mostly the outrageous times and the life-long friendships. I don’t know where I would be today without hockey. It has brought me to Culver and has been my key to self- discovery. It has helped me discover who I am and what I am made of. Without hockey I wouldn’t be the same person. The lessons I’ve learned have benefited me so much for whatever I do in life.

The game has helped me grow as a person and has taught me many valuable lessons. I used to think about only winning and scoring goals, but it’s about much more than that. Hockey is about being part of a team and experiencing the ups and downs together. I’ve learned to win and lose with dignity and that my positive and negative actions impact others. I’ve learned that the best don’t always come out on top, because true hunger and heart can overpower pure talent. I’ve learned dedication, discipline, confidence, leadership skills, and teamwork. I’ve discovered that these lessons are true on and off the ice and will enrich me for a lifetime. Most importantly, the memories, friendships, and lessons I’ve gained are priceless.





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