MONDAY, MARCH 25: WHAT HOCKEY MEANS TO ME
by Mikayla Ogrodniczuk (#16)
For me, hockey is more than a game – it’s a way of being, permeating every fabric of my life.
For as long as I can remember, it has been a part of my life. My mom would take me with her to watch my dad play when I was just a wee baby. I’ve been told that I would park myself in front of the TV on Saturday evenings during Hockey Night in Canada, mesmerized by the motions on the screen, and excitedly shriek, “Hockey, hockey!”
One of my first toys was a hockey stick; I carried it around everywhere. Conversations in our home were, and still are, frequently peppered with topics about hockey. Yet, despite such an early induction to hockey, I never fancied myself playing. Thing was, for all the hockey I was exposed to, I never saw girls playing. I thought it was just for boys. Heck, even my younger brother (four years my junior) began playing before I did. It’s not that my parents discouraged me from it; I just never thought it was a possibility for me, and thus never asked to play.
Still, there was this force pulling at me, beckoning me. Finally, I asked my parents if I could play. I was nine years old. From the moment I first hit the ice, padded like the Michelin Tire man, spinning around the ice chasing that little frozen disc, the smile has not left my face. I found my place, the place where I belonged – on the ice.
As I’ve journeyed through the different stages of hockey, the game has touched more and more aspects of my life. My parents always told me that playing hockey was a privilege that must be earned and kept. To do this, I must do well in school. So, I worked hard to excel in school, so that I could play hockey!
As I developed some skills in hockey and became more serious about it, I started to think about how to get even better. To do this, I had to start thinking about how I treated my mind and body – how to improve my physical and mental fortitude to be better on the ice. So, I worked hard at maintaining good nutrition, fitness and mental focus. And most importantly, I realized how hockey is not just a game that you insert yourself into; it’s a team game, meaning that you are but one of many.
For me, my team has become like my second family. We laugh together, we work together, we play together, we are there for each other. Hockey gives me a sense of place and belonging. And as I reflect on where I’ve been and where I am, I can’t help but feel excited about where I have yet to arrive. Though I can’t predict my future, one thing is certain, the game of hockey will play a central role in my dreams and ambitions, and how I will get there.
About “Ghost” Writing: Leading up to and during the 2013 Esso Cup, Canada’s National Female Midget Championship, coming to Burnaby, B.C., this April, several players on the Fraser Valley Phantom of the BC Hockey Female Midget AAA League, will be contributing their thoughts to “Ghost Writing,” a blog about hosting the Esso Cup and everything else female hockey.