I am a hockey player. I’m a team player. I play with my friends and with some of my enemies, but I respect everyone when it comes to my sport. I know I may not get a multi-million dollar contract to play professionally. I know I may not even get my name in the paper, but I play for love of the game. I play for pride and honor, I give my blood, sweat and tears to make the team, to earn the spot, to win the game. I play because I can, I play because I know that my life would be empty without hockey.
If I didn’t play I would have a lack of everything hockey gives me… integrity, courage, talent, fearlessness, pride, strength, stamina, will, and the heart of a champion. If I didn’t play, I would lose a part of me that is my identifier. I am a hockey player!
I am a champion, not because my team always wins, but because when we don’t, we learn from our mistakes. We try to fix them, and most of all because we have fun. I have built lifelong friendships and memories with my brothers that will extend well beyond the locker rooms and rinks. I leave everything on the ice and continue to push myself. I am never happy with second place, but I have learned to accept it, because I know that we will get back to training to rectify the loss. I have learned to get through my anger, the pain, and the sadness to be the hockey player I have always dreamed of being.
I don’t play for my parents, for my family, or my friends; I don’t play for my coach or my teachers or my school. I play for myself, but thru my play I represent them. When I improve the team improves, when they see me giving it my all, they give it their all, when they see me playing with pride, we all play with pride for the logo on the front of the jersey. So by being the best that I can be, it makes everyone around me be the best they can be, so that in the end we are the best team we can be.
It isn’t about winning or losing, but I hate to lose. I won’t settle for a tie, and I am not satisfied with 100%. To play, you have to sacrifice everything, your body, your time, your sweat, blood, and tears, everything… for your team. I am a hockey player, an athlete and a champion, not because I know what it is like to win, but because I know what it is like to lose. I know what it is like to feel the anger and pain that comes along with “second best.” I have been that guy with tears in his eyes, walking out to recieve the second place trophy and clapping for the other team, my opponents, as they receive the championship trophy. I know what it is like to lose, to win, to want to quit, to want to cry, to not want to get up. I know what it is like to hear the cheers as well as the boos. I know what it is like to feel the pressure of everyone on your shoulders, and I know what it is like to choke under that pressure. I know what it means to be an athlete, a true hockey player, and that is why I play.
I AM AN ATHLETE, A CHAMPION, A TRUE PLAYER.