Being A Laker

Time has flown by this season. I can’t believe we are already into playoffs. I couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishments that we have achieved this year. It’s the first time in the program’s five year history that we’ve had a winning record and it’s the first time we have beat RIT. Every member of our team has been a vital part of our success. The rookies have come in and have all contributed whether it’s points on the score board or just hard work winning board battles. The sophomores have all stepped up their game this year. The juniors, with two new additions, have helped all the way around by bringing puck skills to the next level. The seniors this year are having some of their most strongest games I have ever seen them play.

At the end of the year, a team is experiencing what we call the “wear and tear” of the season. Getting close to the end of the season, every team experiences injuries as your body goes into overdrive. What amazes me about athletes is that we put our bodies through hell and back through the season and we still come back wanting more. Even during the season, when we’ve sprained, strained or tore something, we still want to be out there. That is what athletes live for; where they are standing on the ice, looking up at the flag as the national anthem comes to a close. The moment when the puck drops or the puck crosses the line, those are the moments.

This year’s season has come and gone . . . way to fast. I feel like I blinked and now I’m on my last bus trip for the season. It’s hard to believe it’s all coming to an end. Thinking about the seniors leaving is really hard for any member of the team. I’ve spent three years getting to know these girls. Next year when I arrive at school and walk into the dressing room, all that will be left of them is a gold name plate in their stall to remind those who come after them that there has been a legacy laid before them. That’s the legacy of being a Laker. Being a Laker means pouring your heart and soul into a team, even when things don’t seem to be going your way. That every time you get knocked down, you get right back up. That at the end of the day you will do anything and everything for the success of your team. Wether it’s being a good student-athlete or being a mentor for others on your team. It’s all the small things that add up to the big picture, which is what being a Laker is all about.

Senior Weekend

Senior weekend is always a tough weekend. The mix of emotions as everyone’s parents are flying in, trying to get school work done and stay focused for the games. You try and not think about the fact that this is possibly the seniors last home games. Four years of their lives accumulate to this very moment, when they are standing on the ice after the games and their parents step on the ice so they can be recognized. I guess a lot of the time we don’t realize how big a part our parents play in these four years. This moment helps bring it in to perspective.

As I stood there and watched the seniors line up it also put things into perspective for me. These girls I have spent three years of my life with and now they are all going to be graduating and moving on. It’s a hard thing to accept at the time. You are feeling so many emotions, happy, sad, and maybe confused. But these moments teach us some valuable lessons such as enjoying the time you have with the people you love and care about. Before you know it, in a blink of an eye, it could be over. Take the time to get to know the people you spend every day with before you lose that opportunity. Appreciate the sacrifices that those people have made over the years to be able to stay continually committed.

Joining a team is easy but sticking it out and staying part of the team is hard.

A Weekend Split

The first road trip is always a big test for a team, especially when it involves a 9 hour bus ride. Our destination: Adrian, Michigan . . . and our goal: Beat Em’!  The trip begins with giving jobs to every player, whether it be packing the stick bag or just grabbing the coaching board. Usually the more heavy work goes to the freshmen– everyone does their time. It’s just a seniority thing. Once we get the bus packed it’s time for some beautiful singing from the freshmen until we get off campus– just a little tradition we have to start the trip off right. Once we get settled down most players either do homework or take a nap. Then comes the next typical question by any athlete, “where’s the food?”

Four hours into the trip we stopped at Wegman’s. Each of us were allotted $12 to spend on whatever our little hearts desired. A teammate (Emi) and I decided to pool our money together. With it we each got an entree (chicken) and two sides (squash and green beans), a roll of spicy salmon sushi, two spring rolls, and a mixed concoction from the salad bar. Pretty good for two people.

With bellies full we popped in a movie, Get Him To The Greek. That killed about 2 hours of the bus ride  which was followed by some more napping. Finally we arrived at the hotel and were divided up into rooms. As soon as our heads hit the pillows we were out like a light. 8:45 AM Breakfast time. 11 AM Pre-Game Skate. 3 PM Pre-Game Meal at Adrian College’s dining hall. 5:15 Team Meeting in the locker room. Warm up at 5:30 and then the 60 minute clock started at 6pm.

Our warmup on the ice was good but not great. I think our legs were a little dead from the 9 hour bus ride. I also think that we underestimated Adrian and the type of intensity they were going to come out with. The first period they were all over us, constantly pressuring us in our own end, and making us cough up the puck. The second and third period were better but not enough to catch up to Adrian with a 2-0 lead.

As the buzzer sounded, I left the ice feeling disappointed in our team’s overall performance. I definitely felt that we could’ve won the game and that we should’ve been more prepared mentally for the game. However, the mental aspect is something only an individual player can control. I think that will be one of the things our team will need to work on this year. We need to be mentally prepared for every game and not walk in like it’s just another game. Every game is a test, every game is an opportunity to climb a little higher up the mountain.

Our second game was exactly how we need to be for every future game. Everything just clicked in our off-ice and on-ice warmup and from the first drop of the puck. We knew what to expect and instead of trying to play to them we made their team adjust to us. We dominated in every area of the ice. After the 1st period it was clear who was controlling the game. The ice in Adrian’s zone was completely cut up and the ice in our end looked like the Zamboni had just iced the surface. The energy in the dressing room was amazing and everyone was completely focused. The next two periods we dominated and the final score was 3-1.

I breathed a sigh of relief as we laid on the grass outside of the bus waiting for the rest of our teammates. There were about five us just lying there, looking up a the clear blue sky. The temperature was just perfect, and just above us were the Canadian and American flags flapping in the wind. It was almost too good to be true. It felt so good to leave Adrian with a win. Yes, it would have been better to win both but I think losing taught us a valuable lesson; we need to come prepared to every single game because you never know what to expect.

This year I am very excited for our team. I know we are going to accomplish great things for this program. Will it be difficult? Yes, of course it will but I think that’s what makes it that much more worth it.