Dartingacross the ice, trying to save the puck from going offsides, the hockey playermanages to stop it. With the slap of the wrist a shot is made, and a goal isscored, the second goal of the game!
Are you thinking, Wow, that guy mustbe a great player, or are you thinking, Wow, that girl's amazing. I wish I hadher talent? An average American probably assumes the incredible hockey player isa guy, but why is it generally thought that any great athlete is a guy? There aremany spectacular women hockey players, and women's hockey is becoming moreappreciated, although it is still not as respected as men's. Women's hockeyactually requires more skill since, unlike men's, it doesn't involve checking,but rather the ability to stick handle. If more men came out to watch women'shockey games, they would find themselves enjoying it.
One fairly recentright of women is to participate in whatever sport they desire, whether soccer,ice hockey, basketball or even football. In 1996-97, according to CNN and SportsIllustrated, 779 girls played on boys' football teams. This shows that women arewilling to expand beyond our stereotypical sports.
I am a young femalehockey player, and often members of my team are criticized for playingbecause it is a "guy's sport." This idea is changing, but some men -and some women - still believe that we should stick to field hockey.
Onereason women's hockey is catching on is that it was included in the winterOlympics for the first time in 1998. Not only was it in the Olympics, but theunderdog U.S. team beat Canada for the gold medal.
Some wonder why womenwould want to play such a brutal sport, and my answer is: it is fun, and we can.There is no reason women should stay home and clean the house if they don't wantto. Women have been accepted in sports like soccer and basketball; it is time forhockey to be included as a women's sport.
In general, those who criticizewomen's ice hockey do not understand the talent needed to play. As I said, inmen's ice hockey checking is allowed, but in women's it is not. Even so, manyfemale hockey players spend their fair share of time in the penalty box. Oftenwhen watching high-school boy's hockey, all the players do is go after each otherinstead of the puck. At the Olym-pic level there's little checking, which issimilar to women's ice hockey. The women's game shows a player's ability to playinstead of hit others.
I believe a player's grace on the ice is whatmakes him or her a good player. High-school boys' games lack grace, which manyblame on hockey being a "rough sport," but it doesn't need to be.
Women's ice hockey is still an exciting sport despite the fact thatchecking is illegal. Often men do not enjoy women's games because they are"boring," but that is only because women play hockey instead of hittingone another. Women's hockey requires more skill, which makes it interesting. Ifmore men watched hockey games with a positive attitude, I bet they would enjoyit.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.