17 year old me envisioned going to university for Nursing and playing on the hockey team. Fast forward four years, I am walking across the stage receiving my Health and Fitness Promotion diploma, and successfully completed three years as a varsity soccer player.
I never thought I would be so happy that all of my plans had failed. It is because of this failure, I am living an even better life, that I wouldn’t have dreamt of having.
I am very stubborn, and I am relentless in achieving my goals. Hockey is my passion, and I wanted to be a Nurse. Throughout my life, I played a high level of hockey all my life, I played on the high school varsity team for five years, and I received MVP and the “Bob Foot Heart award”. I was the only girl in the hockey class, and received the highest mark. I was the first one on the ice, and last one off. I loved the game, and was emotionally invested in it. I had my traditions, I would listen to the same songs before games, do my make-up and hair before games (I don’t even do this stuff on a normal day), do 10 butterfly’s before each game, and keep track of my saving averages. Before games I was close to throwing up, because I was anxious about having a solid game. I had many sleepless nights, due to sloppy goals. Hockey was my life. I always studied, I was on honour roll, always competed with myself for high grades. I still wasn’t getting any bites from hockey teams, or my grades didn’t meet the average to be considered for the school’s Nursing program. I even got cut from my Junior A hockey team, after having multiple successful playoff rounds that helped us get to provincials. I had applied to many university’s and a few colleges. I wasn’t even considering college. I got accepted to Ryerson for Nursing, and Centennial college for Nursing. I ended up taking Centennials offer to buy me some more time to figure things out with hockey.
As my hockey career, was on hold, and I wanted to continue with sports, I considered my other options, soccer. My second sport was soccer, I had played on a high level soccer team for 10 years, and was captain for my team. I decided to email the coach, it was the best decision I had ever made. This amazing man’s name is Diarmuid O’Connor. He told me to come out, and that I did. I ventured outside of Waterdown, and took the bus for the first time in my life to get to these soccer tryouts. It took me five hours, and I got the bus doors slammed on me a few times. I left that practice, with one thought on my mind, soccer. I was determined to seize this new opportunity. A few weeks later, the roster was released, and I was on it. I had rediscovered my passion for soccer, and I even was a starter for most of the games. College soccer is a crazy two month outdoor season, crazy, but fun. You travel as much as six hours to play a team. Since the bulk of the season is from August to October, you start with burning temperatures, that end with playing through snow. The schedule gets busy, in order to fit in all of your games, and you play almost everyday. I remember jogging our warm up laps in tears, near the end of the season, because my shin splints were so bad or my hips were hurting me. This was before the game even started. I get frustrated with our record sometimes, but I now see it as a great opportunity, to come back faster, stronger, and get the desired results. I also learned to appreciate what I do have.
The most amazing part of this experience is the people, the staff and players, who are there through it all. My team is filled with amazing individuals, who have great qualities on and off the field. We don’t always get along, but that’s what you get with a passionate group of individuals. I’ve made my mistakes too, but I have learned from them, and I constantly want to strive to be a better teammate, athlete, and person. Our coaches Diarmuid, is one of the most caring coaches I’ve ever had. He always makes sure we have our sun screen, or enough food, and constantly checks up on us. He has been there for me, when my parents were in Waterdown, when I got injured and couldn’t walk, he got my food for me, and answered my panicked call when I found out I had a severe concussion and my parents weren’t answering. Fernie, she is a very intimidating lady when you first meet her. Smiling is not her favourite unlike buddy the elf (on the field). Fernie has never let me down as a coach, she is always so patient, and has never yelled at me. She constantly supports me and gives me feedback, she is an amazing coach. Dani is a new coach, that played along side of me the previous year. She continues to inspire me whether she is leading from beside me or from the bench. She is always willing to help improve my play, calm me down before games, and she is very understanding. Our athletic therapists are amazing. Tina is scary, and I call her office the dungeon of pain, but also miracles. She is very knowledgeable, and fixes our injuries from concussions to popped out ribs. You just sit there in silence, and let her do her thing. I still haven’t figured Tina out, but I think she prefers when I limit my talking., also Tina is always watching. Kailyn constantly amazes me. She probably wants to punch me in the face half of the time. I don’t like the word rest, but she is the most supportive person on and off the field, and truly goes out of her way to help you with whatever problems you may have. Jordan is my boss and does amazing work for the intramural program, he is also a very dependable boss, and great listener. You can find him in his office, without a door. Making sure people are driving the right way in the parking lot. Jordana is the face of health and wellness. She has so much knowledge and gives amazing advice. She is always down to eat some dark chocolate and talk about problems. Chris is a big scary teddy bear. He is really persistent on those progress reports, but is there to give you a big hug at the end of the day. Joan is the mother of athletics. She is always busy and making amazing things happen. She has to deal with our dirty laundry, and still never fails to put a smile on all of our faces. Last but not least, our biggest fan Darcy. Darcy is the most kind and generous man I have ever met. Every day he is beaming with excitement, and usually has some exciting news about new things happening. He is there at every game, and you can always count on his appearance at practices.
I’ve learned failures happen, work hard, and embrace them. It leads you to a pretty amazing things, for me that included my second family and a rediscovered passion. I am thrilled to be a graduate of the Health and Fitness Promotion, and heading back to Nursing. I also am excited at another opportunity to crush some soccer goals.