Earlier this week I was telling my son that I was nervous about speaking in front of you all. Finn, you are wise beyond your 13 years. He told me to just speak from my heart. So, this is what my heart says:
I came to Williston as a reserved and somewhat nervous 10th grader. My Proctor, Kelly, said to Curl (who was my French House dorm parent and future coach) “She can’t be a hockey player. She is too quiet!” I was so nervous that I cried the entire first night. My roommate, Marsi, who is here today, can attest to that.
I know that not everyone here is an athlete but everyone here can strive to be their best self. Consider these points, if you would:
- Challenge yourself, it has to come from within.
- Everyone has a role in a group: coaches, 1st liners to 4th liners, the comedian to the DJ.
- There will always be a better player, so, be humble.
- HAVE FUN! Play and laugh!
- Encouragement is priceless.
All programs have to start somewhere. I call this “From then until now”.
Girls hockey was a new program and they gave us a locker room downstairs. I am pretty sure it was an old boiler room. The stairs were metal so we had to put our skates on upstairs. But really the worst part, was when they only did the ice between the 2nd and 3rd periods and we took rest in, dare I say, the boys locker room. Whooooo! The smell was almost unbearable!
Before Williston, I had played hockey for 7 years. My hockey role here was a combination of playing but also of inclusion and teaching. Most of the students I was sharing the ice with had never played before. I loved seeing my friends improve. The day to day successes, the hard work, the mitosis drills and the fun we had on the ice, brought us together. As Coach Doc would say, “We are a scrappy team.” And we were: not perfect, ups AND downs, but we had purpose and we collectively worked on our goal of being hockey players.
I am so proud of how far the program has come. I wore my Willy sweatshirt with pride at the girls state semi-finals. I love that I am still learning the game: still trying to master the self pass off of the back of the net that Christina showed me at a local pick-up game.
After having my hockey career at UNH: learning systems, personal development and championships, I have come full circle in my hockey today. I have my regular league team but I also try to help new women players who have picked up the sport in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s!
I would like to quote the great Bobby Orr:
“No one is going to succeed on their own, what sometimes looks like an individual accomplishment is always the result of a team effort.”
Well, my team includes Williston. Thank you Williston for a place to be, a place to thrive. For all the smiles and for all the friendships.
My team is also my family. Thank you Mom and Dad for making me, for coming to my games and practices and encouraging me. Thank you Ryan. My life’s partner in crime, crazy athletic endeavors and for the love and support. And thank you to Ben, Maggie and Finn. I literally could not be prouder of you all. I love you.