A former Wildcats captain, Ben Kravitz graduated from Williston in 2010. He continued his hockey career at Babson College from which he graduated last spring. Kravitz currently works at R/GA, a global marketing and advertising company. On Saturday, December 13, Kravitz returned to Williston to participate in the annual alumni hockey game. Four years after leaving Easthampton, Kravitz still lives by Williston Hockey’s slogan, “Better Every Day.”
by Ben Kravitz ’10
My first year at Williston was also Coach Cunha’s. I was only 15 years old, and had been originally recruited by the former Head Coach, Brock Dunn. Williston didn’t have the best team in those days, sporting a 2-23 record in ’05-’06, the year before both Coach Cunha and I joined the program. The coaching change came as a complete surprise to me. I had no idea Mr. Dunn wouldn’t be the head coach when I arrived at the school, and as you could imagine, I grew pretty nervous. I went to the school with hopes of someday playing division 1 hockey and now the coach who had brought me there was no longer coaching. What would this mean for me?
Well, my first year at Williston, we went just about .500, with only a few new players on the roster. Coach Cunha helped transform the program single handedly through his hockey acumen and dedication, and if his approach could be summed up in three words, it would be “Better Every day.”
Anyone who’s played at “Willy” in the past decade knows this mantra well, but it’s more than just a sign in the locker room. Better Every Day encapsulated every fiber of my being. Playing hockey at Williston taught me how to strive. By my junior year, I began to really thrive in the classroom as well as socially. It was because the hockey program helped me make a conscious effort to be a better version of myself every single day; as a hockey player, a student and a person.
When I eventually got to Babson College to play D-3 NCAA hockey, it was pretty intimidating. I was one of 15 freshmen going for 12 spots, and even though I knew I’d be on the team, everyone in my recruiting class was also one of the best players at their school, and we all wanted the most playing time.
After four years at Babson, I had played 108 games, amassing 7 goals and 35 assists for 42 career points. Only one other player in Babson history played more games for the program than I did, and he was my D partner. We won two ECAC East conference championships, and senior year had the lowest Goals Against Average in school history, a stat defensemen take pretty seriously.
College was tough. Babson was an intense academic school, and classes were always hard. A lot of guys on my team couldn’t handle it. Some of them focused completely on hockey and played a lot, but still can’t find jobs because they couldn’t bear down in the classroom. Other guys were so focused on academia that by the time they graduated, they were earning close to no ice time because their games had just gone to hell.
I was able to survive, because I had that Better Every Day mantra stuck in my head. I still do. A lot of people are afraid of change, but it’s literally the only possible way to improve yourself; to change. Williston Hockey and Coach Cunha taught me that the best version of yourself is not who you are but who you can be, and you need to make strides towards being that person everyday.
When I was at college, Williston felt far in the past. It wasn’t always easy to keep in touch with people, and the long semesters in Western Mass felt like a decade ago. But now that I’m out of school, out in the world, working and living, I tend to look back to the Williston days more than my college days. They truly are the formative years, and if you can grab hold of your time at Williston and leverage it into a bright future, with conscious effort to improve yourself, the possibilities are endless.