The piece in The 21st Century in November about Travis Roy (the BU hockey star tragically injured while playing his first collegiate game) caught my attention in showing how critical a sporting event can be. Being a hockey player myself, I felt that this could have happened to me or any of my teammates. Since I had the opportunity to meet Travis a few times last summer, I know how much the game of hockey meant to him.
Travis Roy grew up in Yarmouth, Maine, where, every time he had the opportunity, he would play hockey. He'd be at his father's rink lacing up his skates or even taking a stick and ball to the corner store. He set goals in his life, and one of them was to play Division I hockey. During his freshman year at Yarmouth High, he scored 44 points. All the senior hockey players at his school were going to Division II and III schools. Since he dreamed of a Division I school, he transferred to Tabor Academy. By the time he was a senior, many Division I schools were offering him scholarships. Travis decided to attend Boston University. He had reached one of his goals.
Last summer, I worked out at the same gym as Travis. He was very friendly and outgoing. He always put 110 percent effort into his weight program. After workouts, when other players went home, Travis would lace up his skates and work on his shooting and skating.
Friday, October 20th was BU's first game. It was to be an exciting night. The banners were raised for the BU Terriers, who had won the triple crown (Beanpot, Hockey East and the National Championship). The rink was filled to capacity. The Terriers jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the first minute. All of a sudden tragedy struck. Travis Roy, on his first shift of his first game, went head on into the boards. No one knew what really happened. After a wild first minute, the fans became silent. The trainer and Coach Parker were on the ice with Travis. His father, thinking he was not badly hurt, told him to get up. Travis said, "Dad, I'm in trouble." His father said, "What do you mean, son?" Travis said, "I can't feel my body, but I fulfilled my dream."
To this day, Travis lies paralyzed in the hospital. People from all over the world have sent donations to help him and his family. Many famous people have visited him, including the all-time leading point-getter, Wayne Gretzky. It is going to be a long road for the Roy family, but after what I have seen in the past two months, the dedication and support the Roy's are giving and receiving, Travis deserves to skate along with his fellow Terriers. l
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.