Hockey Changed my Life
The first sport I ever played was hockey when I was 4. It was a shocking experience. What I thought would be easy and fun turnout out to be completive and hard. I began in the Chipmunk level; ages were 4-7. I was so young and others were so much bigger, I played to run around, they played to win. Though my coach and teammates patiently explained the rules and objectives throughout the season, they refused to show me any mercy, they would run by me, steal the ball, and even score without me, despite my pleas and tears that I was their teammate and only four years old.
I remember clearly the pain I felt from losing, but I remained eager to learn and determined to one day become better than them. Eventually, our team moved up from Chipmunk level to the even more completive Beaver level. Every time we played, I carefully observed my favorite teammate, he was much bigger and stronger than me, and made it look so easy. Over the years, he continued to be better than me, but the practices became more exciting and my ability began to narrow in on him. Finally, at twelve, I was able to keep up for the first time, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride, which was only magnified when I saw the same reaction from him.
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I learned so much from these practices beyond the obvious. I learned how to lose, and win, graciously. I learned to enjoy the process, regardless of the outcome. I learned how to take suggestions from other teammates but think on my own, both creatively and strategically. I learned how to cope with failure and turn it into a lesson. I learned that true victory branches from hard work and persistence. This doesn’t mean that losses don’t sting. I was devastated when my hockey team lost the championship game by only one goal when I was the last one to control the puck and miss the net. But I was still incredibly proud of my team’s unity, the solid effort we put into the season, and my own contribution. More importantly, the friendship and support of my teammates is ongoing and something I will always cherish more than a win.
This past fall, I had my first experience of college at Mount Wachusett Community College, doing a dual enrollment. This was certainly not a game, but my strategy was the same: work hard, remain focused, deal with the inevitable obstacles, and stay on track of my educational goal. At first, I found it intimidating, but I quickly found my footing. I worked hard, knowing that what I took away from the experience would be measured by what I put into it. I studied hard, learned to reach out to other for help when needed and carefully review my assignments and not to be discouraged when things are not just right.
Through all this, I discovered what it really means to fight to win. I have also come to understand that sometimes a game never ends but transforms, causing goals to shift that may require an adjustment in strategy. My teammate and I still play on the same team, and we play to win. However, the match is now more balanced and I’ve noticed him and the younger players now paying much more attention to my moves and skills and even learning a few things from me. Today I have surpassed my teammate and many others, but I will always remember how it all began at the age of 4. It has shaped me into the young man I am today.