No, The Word Filled with Motivation.
The national anthem rings out through the stadium speakers. Crowd quiet. But the energy in the building buzzing, like that of overhead power lines.
This day. Would end up being the last time I took to the ice as a Wentworth Leopard. A small division 3 school in Boston, known more for its place in the engineering and construction world, than for its place in the NCAA athletics.
This journey, one that started so long ago I don't remember learning how to skate. It was fueled by my Dad's love for the game and my Mom's willingness to support anything I was dedicated to do.
Growing up in New England many would think the pursuit of hockey would be an easy one. With rinks and leagues so accessible. However like a picture on instagram, there was much more behind this story.
As I began to climb the ladder of competition. From youth leagues, to travel into high school and college. There were constant obstacles that stood in front of this passion. Politics, favoritism or bad timing. For whatever reason, these deterrents never stopped me. And a lot has to do with my parents endless support. But what accompanied this support, was a fire that burned inside of me. One so strong that I would do whatever it took to prove those who stood in my way. Wrong.
During the end of my junior year, I went to visit a college in Boston. One that I was really excited about. As they had a program for Environmental Engineering. And a hockey team.
My cousin, who went to the neighboring Northeastern, took me for the tour. For a kid growing up in a town without a stop light. The city was intimidating, yet exciting. And I knew this would be my home.
The fire inside that helped me get through my early years of hockey. Was raging. I had a decent high school hockey career. But had fallen short on the side of being recruited. It was to the point where I had as many football and baseball schools looking at me as hockey schools. Football and baseball where only in my life to stay active, there was no passion for them. And when I say I was being recruited, it was more of an interest letter from one or two schools.
A massive blow to the ego. And that fire.
As my cousin and I toured the school, I set up a meeting with the coach of the team. As we met, he showed me around and told me the goals of the program. They were aiming at becoming a powerhouse in the ECAC Northeast. Eventually top in the NCAA. They were actively recruiting to reach this goal. Players from all the top Canadian leagues and prep schools.
Insecure and naive. I tried to sell myself. But was met with a statement. You are welcome to tryout but don't get your hopes up on making this team as all the spots are filled.
To this day that meeting is as clear as the Caribbean water I love to paddle on.
When I went back home, I applied for earl admission. The day the acceptance letter came a wave of emotions took over. The universe loves to deliver challenges. I also received a letter from another school to play hockey.
The decision was made. I was going to Wentworth. And I was playing hockey. Whether coach thought I was good enough or not.
That night, playing for our division championships. Just over four years later after that memorable meeting. I had no idea the magnitude it would all play into my life.
My talent has never been one to compete at the top of the pyramid. But there's been other things that I learned can always shine through.
Work ethic. Dedication. And optimism.
Today, that fire is still burning. And when life throws down the gauntlet. I look back to this lesson. As it inspires me to follow my instinct. My heart. As that is stronger than any word.