Posts Tagged ‘event’

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”~Wayne Gretzky

And now we’ve reached the end of the line for the 2011-12 sledge hockey season. What better way to go out with a HUGE BANG than to travel to Houston to participate in their Paralympic Sport Experience.

Our team hosted the same kind of event back in January, now it was time to go to Houston to participate in theirs.

Houston has been totally awesome to us. We bonded very closely with one another over the course of a single weekend back in April when we marched on to Dallas for the tournament.

What was even more special about this event was the promotions for it all. The sledge hockey program did an incredible job sending out to the general public that it was going to happen, and even had special guests arrive just for the event.

People like Houston Oilers QB Dan Pastorini was on hand. A few of the cheerleades from the Houston Aerodynamice Dance team was there, and the Houston Aeros mascot. (All of which, I never saw a single second of with my own eyes. I was out on the ice when they all arrived. And I am still very adamant about getting a photograph with the one cheerleader. I attempted it when we were there last November at a Houston Aeros game, but the picture didn’t come out. So I’m on the hunt to fix the problem! Just saying.)

Even the mayor of Houston proclaimed that day to be “Paralympic Sport Day”. You know it’s really awesome when the mayor gets involved.

But what I thought was really cool was the presence of Andy Yohe, gold medalist from the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics and captain of Team USA. He was totally awe-inspiring to everyone who got to be on the same ice with him. Plus he was gracious to give out helpful hints on the game and very supportive of everyone who was there and encouraging everyone to keep on practicing and never surrender. I love it when people do that sort of thing.

What I thought was really cool was that the ice rink we were on, was in the middle of a shopping mall. And it being Mother’s Day weekend… it was packed!!

There were people surrounding the glass and just watching us play our hearts out.

I was thrilled that members of the band SILENCED WITHIN came to see me and watched me play for a while. I was totally appreciative that they were able to come out and watch, even on a busy and stressful weekend as Mother’s Day weekend always seems to be.

Things were so very awesome, until I got “pinballed” around on the ice and I didn’t realize how close I was to the wall and I hit it, head first rather than putting up my shoulders to receive the impact.

Of course, I get teased about leaving the ice so early and I didn’t let it bother me that much. But when I’ve hit my head and then I start to see different levels of reality and the dreadful urge to vomit, I think that was the perfect time to throw in the towel for the night.

The following morning, we went back at it for another two hours at a different ice rink.

Again, very successful I thought. And I even learned something from it all. I was able to improve on my shot. And of course, that’s always a GOOD thing!

I have to give special thanks to the Houston program. They were responsible for allowing my team the opportunity to come down, spend the night, and then play again in the morning. They were gracious enough to take care of the overnight accomodations.

And even though the entire time I was gone away was only about 30 hours, as we arrived home it felt like we had been gone for days. Probably from all the fun we had.

I’m given to understand that perhaps the Houston program wants to continue throughout the summer. And I think that would be great, considering that the more we practice, the better we will become. Especially if they are thinking about going to next year’s tournament which is going to be held in Philadelphia.

They want us to consider coming down and just spend some time that first day hanging out and socializing, and then when ice time is available, we would get on the ice and do it all over again. They were thinking probably once a month. But once a month is better than none at all.

Thanks to everyone who has been supportive. For me personally, my team, and for the STARSkaters program. All those who have generously given their time, effort, and financial support. And even for those who just say “YAAAY!!”. It is quite helpful, believe it or not.