Eyes locked on the once glimmer ice now engraved with skate blades analysing everything going on around me like a spy cracking down on a code. My adrenaline is so high I block out everything around me the beaten walls that are now covered in black marks and dents, parents screaming for their sons to be the superstar or the refs a piece of their mind. Little kids in the stands sitting on freezing metallic confused about what’s even going on. I don’t even notice the pools of sweat that would normally scorch one's eyes, or how hot steam his being emitted from me. So much calculating, like a mathematician do I hit this guy or will create a burning hate that will make the game so much harder, do i screen the goalie and take the abuse of endless slashing by the other teams defense men, do i conserve energy or do I take this breakaway all the with the speed of lightning to possibly make a gaming changing play? How did I end up in this situation? What helped me get to this point?
All this happens daily in a place that I’d consider my second home, the Toledo Ice House. From the outside it does look that great, the parking looks as if there was an earthquake, so many cracks it would take forever to count them, rubble, grey and faded, you can’t even see the parking lines. The building itself isn’t one of those massive ann arbor colosseums, it’s a decent sized beige rectangular with a small square extension on the front. When you enter through the first door at night to your right is the dim, rowdy, loud bar only lit by the various colored neon lights. If you continue to the left is the path to the shiny, almost blinding metallic, freezing bleachers. Depending if there’s a game going your ears will overwhelmed by blasting music and the rings of cowbells and roars of people watching hockey. If the Zamboni was on recently the ice will be pearlescent, smooth and gleaming. If the Zamboni hasn’t been on after a game it will be shredded and engraved all over by skate blades.
The Ice House’s ice is where I learned to skate with only a heavy, old, worn out Easton wood stick to supporting me like a crutch from feeling the impact of hitting the solid ice. Luckily I had this stick to held me up like a pillar to a building because even though I learned how to play hockey a lot faster than most people it felt like climbing a mountain. Coming to the ice rink almost every day trying to get whatever chance I had to skate. I was driven by the envy of all the other people being able to skate around me, it felt like it was just my drive and my stick that could support me through the struggle and aid me to success.
No matter how much i would fall and feel the aching pains and dark deep bruising, I would block it out and keep on skating, then feel the pain later the next day. For some reason to me the embarrassment of failing was more crushing than the physical pain of it. It seems to make no sense because one time I was skating I cut my leg open from a skate blade and it bled endlessly staining the ice bright red, but somehow the embarrassment of it lingered worse than the pain. I would just use all my will and the help of my stick to get back up covered in white flakey snow with chilling feeling of water soaked into my clothes.
I keep advancing on my journey to playing hockey and then eventually felt comfortable with my skills enough to do different programs and practices. Though I had enough skill to do these hockey programs, I didn’t have the confidence. Before every practice I would start to feel really anxious which always made me feel like I was going to throw up before practice. Till this day I still have this feeling and i don’t know why, because I love playing hockey. This feeling of anxiety is so aggravating it’s like a pesky gnat that won’t flying by your face, you don’t know why it’s doing it and it doesn’t stop.
On my journey to learning how to play hockey I have learn a lot, and just how important a hockey stick is to a player. Though it may just seem like a glossy black piece of plastic a hockey stick is more than that, it is a hockey player's weapon. With drive, passion, and endless practice the hockey stick becomes much more it allows for shooting with the force of a truck, the ability to move the puck as fast as lightning and deceptively as it glides across the gleaming ice, perform sly and illegal slashes and hooks. When you start off with a new stick it is like a brand new car it’s flawless, glossy, and persten. Each scratch in the stick is more than just a scratch it shows how much pain I’ve endured, the enjoyment I’ve had with what seems like my brothers, all the endless practice I’ve put in for my passion.
The hockey stick is more than a piece of composite it is a versatile tool and tells journey, it shows me that if get decicated to something that I am like a tornado, I will not be stopped, and I will preserve no matter the struggle. That I am not afraid of failure, and I will keep on rising and falling and learn from it. When I see people do things that I can’t I get envious and I’ll struggle to learn what they’re doing. When someone tells me I can’t, to that I say watch me, their hate is what drives me and makes me work harder. I am also willing to help others out though and I see someone else struggling like, I was when learning to ice skate, I help them out.