Posts Tagged ‘paralympics’

5362556718_a8f774db14_z“I can enjoy anywhere, and I can leave it.  Life is about moving on.“~Waris Dirie

Recently the most uncomfortable and the wildest decision was made for me and my life. This included a complete and total change in what I am doing in life, particularly in my spare time. 

It definitely was not easy, and it is not easy to deal with the consequences of making that decision but right now I feel that it is the RIGHT decision for me.

And who knows for sure … I may come back. But for now my hockey career comes to a close. “I’m hanging up those skates.” if you will.

I’m not going to go into what all caused this decision and I’m not going to spit fire at anyone. I just felt that with the entire scope of things for this season and the way things have not worked at all in my favor that I need to step away from it and hope to find something else that will occupy my time and be just as fun and rewarding as possible like sledge hockey was for me. I was trying to look at the bigger picture that was standing behind the picture that was in my face.

My sledge is already returned and so I have nothing holding me back. I’ve told those whom I felt needed to know and now its just time to move on. 

Of course I shall miss being a part of the sport. The people that I’ve met throughout the years because of it have been phenomenal. The experiences that I’ve had from the sport were once in a lifetime. Including being a part of a team that would enter their first ever tournament in 2012 and face difficult opponents and come out  with a 3-3 record and winning 3rd place and earning a bronze medal. 

My one and only award for sports. And nobody that knew me thought it would happen. But it did. 

However one thing is just eluding me. And that is the possibility of joining Team USA on the national level of the sport. Or at least trying out for the team.  With my absences being noted this year from practices due to one reason or another and my not being able to go to the USA Hockey Disabled Festival in Boston, its all been a huge set back for that one specific goal to try out for the national team. But of course its not just that. And its not worth getting all involved about everything else. I choose not to. 

Who knows though… I may return to the sport later in the future. For now though its time to leave.

For those of you who have been reading this blog and have been supportive…. a great big special thank you goes out to you. Those of you that I know and those of you who stay silent. 

And now as the Paralympics are going on in Sochi and Team USA is advancing closer and closer to the medal rounds of the tournament I cheer that they take it to top! 

GO USA!!

So I take the next step from here and now. I do not know where that foot will land. But the biggest part of getting over that reticence. 

 

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”~ Walt Disney

The closing ceremonies took place in London of the Paralympic Games.

This is Kristen.

She was born with Cerebral Palsy, although she is capable of walking independently.

I met her some years ago, via her website.

One afternoon, I was reading the newspaper and I spotted a large image of her in a racing chair. Over the weekend, she had participated in the Capitol 10 K race. And I was both intrigued and shocked.

Kristen is the person who has turned into my athletic idol. She was the one who through correspondence, introduced me to the sport of sledge hockey. And she was even willing enough to come pick me up from my home to take me to a practice one Sunday afternoon. That very day, I was strongly encouraged by her and her mother to try it. Once I got on the ice, I fell in love and the rest is obviously, history.

I would learn that Kristen has had a very interesting racing career. It was something she was very passionate about. Suddenly, I was completely captivated by what she had done and by what she was doing.

Soon enough, my own passion would come from that fateful afternoon when I was on the ice with her and the rest of the team. And eventually, I would have scored my first ever goal in an athletic competition in a round robin match on Mother’s Day of that year.

My time with Kristen was unfortunately short lived. I was binding myself to her and to her social contacts which were other people with disabilities. She now lives and trains in the northwestern United States.

When I was with her, she always talked about her dream of being at the Paralympic Games. She wanted to represent her country well.

SHE DID IT!! 

Kristen made it on the team and participated in two events of the Paralympic games. She raced in the 100 m and the 200 m races.

While in London, she didn’t make it to the medal stand. But she was able to fulfill the dream she had for such a long time. And she even claimed a World Record for one of her races in her class.

Such an accomplishment.

I am so very proud of her!

Without knowing Kristen, I probably would not know sledge hockey. And I would be stuck at home doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself.

My debt of gratitude to her is so great. And I wish her future success as she returns back home to the United States and continues on in her journey and career.

She is another prime example of someone who stuck with her dreams through hard work and extreme dedication to make sure that those dreams came true.

Sledge hockey (known as sled hockey in the United States) is a sport that was designed to allow participants who have a physical disability to play the game of ice hockey. Ice sledge hockey was invented in the early 1960s in Stockholm, Sweden at a rehabilitation center. It is currently one of the most popular sports in the Paralympic Games.

Two men from Sweden designed the sledge for ice sledge hockey in the 1960s because they wanted to continue to play hockey despite their physical disability.

Essentially all of the regular ice hockey rules in able-bodied ice hockey leagues apply to ice sledge hockey. The only differences those necessitated by the ice sledge and the athlete. The first set of international rules was created in 1990 and was drafted from Canadian rules. It was introduced to the Paralympic Games in 1994, in Lillehammer.

Team USA brought home the GOLD in the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver.

Personally speaking however, as of the 2010-11 season, I have entered my third season in playing this sport. I fell in love with it the moment I got inside of sledge and was placed on the ice. It most certainly has become a passion of mine. And I have made it my personal goal to become good enough, strong enough, to try-out for the National Team and play with honor and valor for my country and win the gold.

Within my second year, I had improved my game to the next level. Earning nicknames like “Assassin“, “The Laser“, “The Arm“, and others similar based on my powerful shot. These given by the coaching staff of my team. I was honored this season to be named Assistant Captain of the team.

I believe that my most shining moment in sledge hockey was the opportunity to play in front of over 6,000 hockey fans in a team exhibition on the 13th of March, 2010.

My first goal was against Dallas on the 7th of March, 2010. A memory that I will have with me forever. (Even if we did lose 2-1.)

Our team however, does not “require” a person to have a disability to join. We have both male and female team members, young and old. If you are interested, please check out our Facebook fan page, “Austin Blades”. Leave a comment/question below.