Living Away

January 7, 2009
I walked up the stairs into my new condo and it was a long upsetting walk for me. The stairs led me into the kitchen where I met my new roommate and teammate. His name was Michael. He asked me if I needed help bringing my stuff upstairs. I had a lot. I would be living there for a whole year.
As I brought my small twin size mattress upstairs I saw the living conditions of this place and they were horrendous. Moving to a new place for hockey gave me an uneasy feeling. I was homesick already, and I didn’t know if I could handle it. Upstairs was a complete mess. Clothes were thrown everywhere. There was a random couch and hangers on the floor with wrappers everywhere. I didn’t even have a room to stay in. I dropped my mattress and wanted to go back home.

At first, living in Delaware for me was horrible. I ended up sleeping on a couch for the first week because we had 10 people living in a 2 bedroom condo. The owner was a hockey player and a really nice guy. He was 26 and he had his own room, which was the biggest room in the condo. The other co-owner had the other room and the other 7 of us were spread out around the house. There were two people on the couch. One person ended up sleeping in a closet upstairs that he made into his own bedroom. Another person slept in an unmade bathroom and the other three people slept in a big open area with an oversized 4 by 5 foot nook to the side. Thank God that those were only the living conditions for about a quarter of the year. When it ended up being only six of us I got upgraded to sleeping in the big nook.

After about half the year me and another roommate/teammate, Eric, got sick of living in the dirty conditons so we decided to clean up the big upstairs living room. We put in a new TV and Playstation so we made it look nice. Back in New Jersey I would never ever clean my room no matter what. I used to live like a pig at home because I didn’t care but I couldn’t do it anymore.

We cleaned up the entire upstairs and we made room for a little couch and a recliner. We left room for one of the kids to have his bed and for me to have room to get to my nook. The nook was small but I liked it and it made me feel good that I cleaned it up and I was living in a nicer place. Our next step was to clean whole house. It took us about three days to make our place look spotless and it was so cool that we got to do that. I never would have cleaned anything up if I still lived at home. Moving away and living with a bunch of guys taught me to clean up my room and to like living in a clean space. Now if you see my room now it is completely spotless all the time. I hate living in a mess now. I never knew I would ever clean up like that and surprisingly I had a good time doing it to.

Every Monday we went for a “family dinner” to a place called McGlynn’s about 10 minutes from our house. The more time that passed the closer and closer that I got with everybody on my team and that I lived with. The “family dinner” was a way of getting together with the guys and just relaxing from the weekend and the more dinners that we had the more fun we had. It brought us even closer together and it was a great feeling to have. We looked out for each other on and off the ice. It made me learn a lot about people and it make me more of an adult.

While I was away I unfortunately had to go to school and I absolutely hated that school but I had to learn to battle through things I didn’t like. I tried to do was well as I could, but I loved hockey.
When I was home sophomore year my mom always woke me up and made me breakfast for school. While I was away I didn’t have that at all. I had to set an alarm and get myself up and also I had to make myself breakfast. At first I hated doing that and sometimes I never did but I would get hungry so I would have to. I learned to wake up earlier so I could make myself a proper breakfast. Now that I am home instead of my mom doing all of those things for me, I do them myself. I wake up by myself. I make myself breakfast. I make my own lunch and then I drive off to school. So by doing all of those things I matured, but I didn’t realize it at the time.

On the ice I matured a whole lot, and there I knew it. Before I went away to play hockey, I played Bantams, which is 15 years old and under. The next step up is Midgets, which I skipped. Then comes Juniors. Juniors are up to 21 years old and I was playing at age 15. In Bantams, I scored a lot and had a lot of points and I would try to fight a lot of people, too. I could get away with that because the kids were actually my age and my size. In Juniors the kids are a lot older and bigger and could would rip off my face. I learned pretty quickly not to shoot off my mouth. I was the youngest kid in the league by two years so I didn’t say anything to anyone on the other team when I was on the ice. When someone punched me in the face I learned to let it go and don’t worry about it. It’s going to happen so I told myself to just suck it up. I was the leading scorer on my team and when somebody went after me, people on my team would fight that person and it gave a good sense of knowing that somebody was there for me.

When time came to leave my house in Delaware and finally move back home to New Jersey I was kind of upset. I was the last one of the kids to leave the house so it was pretty much empty when I was there. My brother Matt came to pick me up and help me pack all of my things away so we could leave. Everything was packed up and ready to go except for my mattress. I stood upstairs in the empty room with only my mattress and nothing else. I picked up my mattress and carried it down the same stairs I had carried it up a year before. It was the same mattress, but different.

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