Posts Tagged ‘sledge hockey’

smiling-woman-l

Money definitely doesn’t grow on trees. At least not how we all would like to believe.

This morning, I had a visit with the RN.

She said that I was doing very well and improving at a spectacular rate. Something that they always like to report and that we like to hear.

Then she asked me if I had remembered the conversation that she and I had about my goals to get to sledge hockey tournament in Boston in 2014.

The Austin Blades program isn’t going to help if any of us players want to go to this tournament. So we have to do this on our own and raise enough money to go.

This RN apparently discussed it at some capacity with another patient of hers earlier in the week. And when she came by for a visit this morning, she reminded me that I was needing all the help I could get.

This patient, or whomever she told about my story…. proved to me that there are still nice people out there in this world.

This person (unknown to me because of laws) gave a cash donation of $10.

I was so excited and surprised that I couldn’t even think straight!!! 10dollar

A total stranger. I do not know exactly what was said. And I do not know who this person is. And I will never know, but they felt interested enough in helping me reach the goal.

A teammate of mine (the other assistant captain) vowed this season that when we heard where the next year’s tournament was going to be, that he and I would work together in trying to get the money together to go. We both would go, even if nobody else from the Austin Blades went.

So the fundraising is a little different, since everything is going to be split between the two of us. The goal is definitely not as high as my personal fundraising site that I put together on my own last year… which is still available to receive donations. That one is up to help me upgrade my equipment and be able to return what was loaned to me back to the team so we have that equipment for new players in the future.  IF you are interested in that one, please let me know.

This campaign though is for two people. Two players strongly passionate about the game of sledge hockey that its all we ever talk about when we get together. Eventually at some point in the conversation between he and I, the topic of sledge hockey or the team will dominate our conversation.

We’ve both gone as far as to say that sledge hockey is in our veins.

My partner in this adventure has already stated that he doesn’t want any presents given to him for any holiday, whether it be Father’s Day, a birthday, or even Christmas. Instead he wants people to donate to help him get to Boston.

I have jumped on that as well. I would request that anyone thinking about a Christmas gift or birthday to go ahead and just make a donation to help me out as well.  fundraiser-2

Let’s face it though: fund raising is very difficult. Especially for things like this. I hate to sound like I am begging as well. But nobody can get anywhere if they do not ask.

And even though it is really early before the start of the tournament…. I believe an early start is a great head start!!!!

I already have received a donation from the kindness of a complete and total stranger. And I am very thankful for that person. So whoever you are– THANK YOU!!!

And if you are reading this and feel that you are interested in helping, or inspired by the story of the anonymous donation, the link to the site is in the Blogroll. Or you can click on the link provided below.

Even if you are not willing or ready to make a donation, by sharing the story of the stranger and the link would be very, very, very helpful.

We are not looking for or anticipating donations of large amounts. Anything obviously will help. And the more of those kinds of contributions that are put together then the goal can be met and our dream of once again going out, doing something that we love to do and are very passionate about, and having that personal independence to actually have the ability to play the sport, would make every cent and dollar that much more special.

So please help if you can. And spread the word. Think of the kind stranger who doesn’t even know me but still had enough in their heart to believe in me.

Thank you.

http://www.gofundme.com/2t2pvs

 

 

award

This past Saturday, was the ending to the 2012-13 sledge hockey season. The team got together and went bowling and had an awards ceremony. I was not there, but this is the award I received.

It was very unfortunate that this passing season I had not been able to get much time to be on the ice and participate with the team. But I did what I could.

Between getting sick, being in the hospital again, and wiped out from babysitting my niece… it just added up to short season for me.

Nevertheless I am hopeful for this coming summer. Even though we won’t have ice time locally, we have been invited to join our brothers and sisters in Houston.

As a matter of fact, in about two weekends from now the Blades will be going to Houston to participate in a few scrimmages with the team in Houston. They are being kind enough to put us up in a rather nice hotel and even giving us the opportunity to socialize and join in fellowship at a Houston Astros baseball game on Saturday evening.

All three days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we will have the chance to still do our thing even after the official Blades season closer. And I think that is going to be such a fun and awesome time. If you are in the Houston area or are going to be then we will be playing the second weekend of May.

There’s also talk among the more prolific players of the Blades to put together a Bowl-a-thon soon. Hoping to make it into a fund raiser where the team will bowl and collect donations at a few pennies per pin that was played. I have done something like that before. And even though bowling is not really an interest of mine, this really sounds like a fun event. So to some of you who know me and follow my hockey career closely: Save your pennies for me!!

Of course I think it would be hilarious if we had someone donate $1 per pin and then find ourselves a ringer. But that’s just me. I don’t like bowling too much and I think that my best game was something like 160-170. But that was over a decade ago.

Ice time may be done for us here locally. But I think that if we can get to Houston at least once or twice a month during the summer months then we will be in terrific shape for the next season.

I only hope that some of the other team members can continue to come up with excellent ideas for fund raising like this. Bake sales are great, but good grief it takes a lot more than people can imagine. This is new and exciting for the team.

 

 

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“Hockey is a unique sport in the sense that you need each and every guy helping each other and pulling in the same direction to be successful.”~ Wayne Gretzky

I should have titled this blog post From 6,073 to 0 in under 5 Minutes, but I thought a little better of it.

The Austin Blades went and did an hour of skating and playing after the Texas Stars game.

Most of us were excited. The mystery of it all was that nobody was for certain who was going to show up from the sledge hockey team. That led to six members arriving. So 3 on 3 it would be.

Although I did not recognize any of the foreshadowing that took place throughout the evening during the Stars game.

Six people show up. Eye candy was low. And the one person that I thought was still on the cheerleading squad was gone.

Texas Stars would end up losing 4-2. And that was another factor. When you are to follow the main event, and the home team loses? There’s not going to be a lot of people willing to stick around. Even though I had talked to about 15 people explaining what I was going to do after the game and they all thought it was cool. They didn’t stay either.

So about 20-25 people were left standing. And I think that they were family and close friends of the team.

I didn’t hear of any announcements to encourage the crowd to stay afterwards. Although its being said that it happened….. ONCE.

I just don’t think that when the home team loses, that the chances are great for people to stay behind.

This happened last season in Houston at the Toyota Center when over 9,000 people were in attendance and the home team lost. So everyone went home, except for family members and volunteers.

But our 3 on 3 would continue on.

The ice rink at the Cedar Park Center is much, much larger in length than what we are used to. And because of the fact that I personally have not been on the ice in about five months, in addition the length of the ice… just taking one lap around it to warm up nearly took everything out of me. But I pressed on.

My side of the three fell behind very quickly. I want to cry foul but wouldn’t have anyone to back me up on that.

Then I started to catch on fire, scoring goal after goal after goal. But it wasn’t enough as the other three would score tit for tat. We never caught up. I score, they score. I score, they score. On and on and on it went.

Eventually everything just melted together and before I knew it, the leader was doing a audio countdown from ten. As is his usual fashion when we practice.

We were done and off the ice and changing back into our clothes and it was only 11 PM.

Who knows what is next for the Austin Blades. Probably nothing like that again for the rest of the season. I have a feeling its just going to be a few more practices and then that will be all she wrote. I am HOPING that is not the case.

Anyone wanna take a ride to Houston where they are always in the mood for doing something more than practice????

2013USAHDisabledFestivalLogo

The time is here, it has come for the 9th annual USA HOCKEY Disabled Festival.

But here I sit at home. No packed bags. No final check on equipment. Nobody from the Austin Blades are  going.

Pretty sad.

After joining forces with counterparts in Houston last year and winning 3rd place, one would believe that our team would re-group and aim for gold this year.

It never happened.

The idea was actually discussed at a team meeting before the 2012-13 season even began. A meeting that had no leadership in attendance and the ones really doing any of the talking were the leaders ON the team.

After a unanimous vote to NOT attempt to use funds or even raise them as a team to go to this tournament, it was very painful and disgusting to me to hear individual players talk among themselves after the meeting stating a desire to still try to go to Philadelphia.

It made no sense. Why in the world vote NO when your heart is saying YES?

Houston had already made up their minds that they were going to strive to go and that meant doing anything that they could to raise the money.

I believe there were several factors involved for the Austin Blades.

For one, it was estimated that each individual player would have to come up with $2,000 a piece in order to take care of transportation, lodging, and everything else that would be involved in going to Philadelphia. I think that each of the Austin players defeated themselves in believing that they would never be able to come up with that kind of cash. Never in a million years.

Upon that hearing that assumed magic number… each player immediately gave up.

Also, two of our ice rinks were stripped and torn away from us as the ice rink was sold. Leaving us with only one sheet of ice. And that sheet of ice was to accommodate for everything from hockey to skating lessons to figure skating. The sledge hockey team was seemingly thrown into this mix and we’ve not been able to have access to a full sheet of ice during any time that we have had practices.

At the beginning of the season, there was a series of bake sales that took place. With me taking care of my niece so that my sister could at least go to work once a week, I never participated in those bake sales. The scheduling of them was just not convenient for me to attend. And it pissed off the entire team that I was never there. They never quite understood.

There was but a few bake sales and then that disappeared. I suspect that the money that was earned from all of them went towards buying ice time for practices. But that’s information never willing to be confirmed. It would however stand to reason.

Times since then have been very few and far between that the Austin Blades have been on the ice, for any reason at all.

Meanwhile, Houston has been going at full force.

I did make a personal attempt to raise the money for MYSELF to be able to go. But out of the estimated guess of $2,000 that I needed, I was only able to raise $260. The link to the website was even on the Blogroll. Still is. But that’s all I was able to receive.

I found the lack of inspiration and willingness to sacrifice to make it to Philadelphia by the team lacking and pathetic. There’s no drive whatsoever! Only fear and self-intimidation.

This entire season I have been struggling in the back of my mind of whether or not to actually quit the team. But using that as a threat isn’t the point. The point is that the team seems to be slipping back into a comfort zone of doing seemingly nothing to go forward or get ahead. And that really kills my personal dreams and goals of participating in this exciting sport.

I know that Houston would welcome me with open arms if I end up there. They have always been inviting the Austin Blades to join them for a practice or two. Even challenging us to friendly competition…. going as far as to pay for gas and hotel. But the Austin Blades did nothing. It wasn’t even discussed as a team.

See what I mean by lacking??

Sledge hockey to me is not a hobby. Its not just something to do in order to get me out of the house for a few hours a week. It is a passion, a heartfelt interest. I’m driven by the idea of playing. It took more than three seasons to even get jerseys! Or something that would even resemble us as a sports team. And that was only done because I had a fire under me to push, push, push.

So much for the Austin Blades I suppose.

The team going from Houston is playing under the team name of Texas Stars. Which ironically is the same name of the semi-professional hockey farm team nearby. The Austin Blades will be playing on their ice after they play a full game later this weekend. But I seriously doubt anyone will be sticking around to watch us play. We tried that when our team had it together and we went to Houston for the first time. Over 9,000 people in the stands and nobody stayed behind to watch.

But I will be hoping and praying that Texas Stars do well this year in Philadelphia. The teams in that pool are many so there will only be two games played before they start a semi-final round, going by points. They must win five games outright to bring home the gold!

I noticed that their second match is against G.L.A.S.A., the same team that ruined us last year. I hope for some athletic vengeance on the ice. Games can be watched online at fasthockey.com, but they are not free! I think its something like $7.99 per credit. And of course if you buy more credits, the price goes lower per credit.

I am hoping for the gold. And at the same time, I know that deep down I will be totally miserable about it…. KNOWING that members of the Austin Blades, including myself, could have been a part of it.

So I will wear my green and black this week. And then I’ll be on the ice this coming weekend in our Austin Blades jersey doing my best to represent.

Speculation and rumor has it that the tenth annual tournament will be in Florida. NOW is the time to start planning for it, for those of us who didn’t go to Philadelphia. I’m going to be busting some serious ass to raise enough funds for that to happen. Even if the rumors are wrong, I will do what I can to get there and it doesn’t really matter where its located. Just as long as I AM THERE!!!!

 

 

AVATAR_2010_Houston

“I worked half my life to be an overnight success, and still it took me by surprise.”~ Jessica Savitch

Wow, what a mess!! I’ve probably not had a roller coaster afternoon that blended into the evening and early night hours since the war. (Don’t ask.)

I think that all will be well at the end of the weekend. My fingers are crossed. I’m keeping positive. You can expect to be kept posted right here.

This week has been rough as the sledge hockey team was invited to Houston this weekend. We would have had two opportunities to get on the ice. Friday night and then again at Houston’s regularly scheduled ice time Saturday morning at Memorial City Mall.

And then I was reminded that ECHO TEMPLE was playing at The House of Blues Saturday. That definitely would have been a full day but I was unable to figure out what I was going to do with all of my hockey gear and what not throughout the rest of the afternoon until that night.

I struggled. I fought tooth and nail to make at least the sledge hockey work as Houston threw the gauntlet at us. Oh how I would have loved it!! But with the backwards progress of the team, and the very little opportunity available for grabbing transportation, it just didn’t seem likely to happen.

Missing sledge hockey and ECHO TEMPLE was a miserable, miserable feeling for me!!

I ultimately threw in the towel for it all. Things were just out of my hands.

This afternoon though I had received the brand new t-shirt from ECHO TEMPLE. I received the very first one available to the public. I was over the moon to receive it. Guitarist Sean Turcott was more than willing to drop one in the mail for me.

Then I got so excited about the t-shirt that I posted a photo of me wearing it on Facebook, tagged the band members and thanked them. Suddenly comments were coming from all sides. Family members and fellow fans alike that they wanted one. Some family and even spouses were frumping about the fact that they didn’t even have one yet.

OOOOOOOOOPSSSSSS!!!!!! Didn’t mean to strike the nerve of the wives and families! Sorry.

Even though I thought that I would miss this epic opportunity to go to The House of Blues, the t-shirt was a great silver medal.

So I continued to think until earlier in the evening……….

I was contacted by Sean Turcott asking if certain arrangements were made, that I could make it to the show at The House of Blues.

I nearly shit myself.

ECHO TEMPLE was going to take care of hotel, travel, and a ride to wherever I was going. But I’m still  attempting to help out my sister with watching my niece and I’m doing that on Saturdays. The same day as the show.

My sister knew that I was attempting to cancel for the hockey but I told her that I gave up on that. Hindsight is definitely 20/20. Had I just said I was going, this wouldn’t have been an issue. But I didn’t have this “all expenses paid” offer until earlier tonight.

It would’ve worked out fine.

In my disbelief, I contacted Mrs. Froth. And wouldn’t you know it? She knew about the plans that ECHO TEMPLE was willing to put into action. And she and Dr. Froth was a very important part of this planning to grab me from the hotel and take me to the venue.

I wonder what else she had her hand in making this possible??? Oh well. Its better not to ask questions.

I struggled some more. Frustrated, that I couldn’t make the overnight trip work. I knew that I would have to come back as soon as possible to watch my niece. It wouldn’t have mattered much. If I had gone and still had to watch my niece then I would have to leave Houston around 6:40 AM. What a pain!!

echooo

Echo Temple

By 11:00 PM though, my sister pretty much told me that I was good to go. She said that she was 99.9% sure of it. She just needed to make sure it was okay by the uppers of all this work shifting around over the weekend. But I had nothing to do with that. She stated in her message to her work people that I wasn’t able to watch the niece and left it at that. Never gave an explanation and never said why…. just that I couldn’t do it.

I will be able to go The House of Blues in Houston, Texas!!! I am pretty damned pumped up about that. And I will get to see ECHO TEMPLE play there. Dr. & Mrs. Froth will be in attendance and that……. ohhh unholy egg nog, is just one helluva bonus right there. Besides, I’m a little behind on super hugs to the Mrs.

And yes, I will be eating some words that were uttered to Mrs. Froth just this morning. I’ll just go ahead and admit that right now before my arm gets twisted in ways and in places that I don’t want it. NOM!NOM!NOM!!!

So at home base, I’m virtually good to go. I know that I will have things taken care of by the bands in Houston.

But I am not out of the woods at this late hour of the night just yet! I will have to make sure that I can get a ride to the bus  stop here in town. I’m hoping the usual neighbor will be willing. If not, its either the public transportation or a taxi. Yikes!!!!

This ECHO TEMPLE VIP is gonna rock this weekend at The House of Blues!!!!!

 

It is always best when you have a good day doing what you enjoy.

For the first time since last May, I was able to get on the ice and I didn’t play any hockey, but I got to skate.

My sister came by and picked me up and took me to the one and only remaining ice skating rink left. It was during public skating hours and many people were there to get out of this atrocious heat and cool off for a while.

What was probably more fun than anything was the thought of being able to skate along side my 7 year old nephew as he has been learning over the summer how to skate and also how to play hockey.

But once I got there and I was ready to go, I jumped into my sled and got dragged onto the ice. Once I hit, I took off like a jet!! I didn’t even see my nephew until after I had been on the ice for a while. And because I’m really out of practice, I was a little tired by the time he did show that it was getting to the point where I could not keep up. Okay, okay…. A LOT tired.

I was lost in time though. I had so much fun on the ice. But it didn’t come without its dangers and perils and close calls.

Because of the fact that it was a public skate session, there were a lot of bodies on the ice. Some skating, some doing spins, others just standing on the ice, and even more others hugging the walls for dear life!

There were no hockey pucks involved. The hockey nets were removed. So all I could do was skate, skate, skate.

It was just a little bit challenging to have gone in and out of lines of people, three or four deep, only to try and get around them somehow without plowing into them or into someone else with my sled.

As I did lap after lap after lap, I began to notice a group of young children who were curious. They skating along side of me for a while. Some of them asking questions about why I was in a sled. Others asked how I moved around on the ice, and some were asking me if my legs were broken. Over and over again.

After doing this for a short amount of time, I decided to skate over towards the wall and take a nice little break and give my arms a rest. When I turned around that last orange cone, the children who had been following me didn’t notice that I had broken away from the path and was up against the wall.

Children came flooding over to me. They stood there all around me, asking all sorts of questions. They wanted to see the skate blades underneath the sled. They wanted to see what kinds of sticks I was using to move across the ice. Some even asked if I played hockey.

When the questions had died down and I was rested up a little bit, I blasted off again and went back into the routine of doing laps around cones.

I heard behind me, “THERE HE GOES!!” and as I went around that first cone I noticed that all of the children who had been hanging around me were actually chasing after me and trying to catch up.

These children had to be between the ages of 7 and 10 years old. Certainly no older than 12 years of age.

I heard a few other comments like “LOOK AT THAT!” and “WATCH HIM!” and the like. There was one little girl who had for the most part hung out with me on the ice for as long as I was still on it. When I took a break, she took a break. Then some boys did the same thing.

But as time went by, things got a little crowded on the ice. There were a lot of times where I would narrowly skate right by someone’s leg as I was trying to pass them because they were either standing still or going slower than I was.

No matter where I went or where I had stopped to take a break, I had that one little girl and at least one or two more children that would be there wherever I went. And when I started up again, they wouldn’t notice that I had started skating again and they would run like mad to catch up.

Some of these older kids (I want to say probably in high school) stood there in their little herds and would never get out of the way.

I ended up taking out one little kid as I tried to stop myself from running him over. I saw that he was going to fall on top of me and I threw my arm out and broke his fall. Once he bounced off of my arm, he gracefully came down upon his knees and was not hurt. All of this had to happen because these older kids weren’t moving and I tried to go to the outside of their little pack and I nailed the poor child.

The skate guards clearly were not doing their job. Not cool.

Random question: Why couldn’t the ice be filled with good looking women? I could take them out, having them land on my lap and then they can tell me what they want for Christmas. Just saying. Don’t you think that is a really cool way to “pick up chicks”?

Once I got off the ice, I took off my gloves and helmet and got back into my wheelchair. And then the cold, harsh reality of the innocence and ignorance of children were apparent. They saw me sitting there in the wheelchair, even though they were talking with me and having fun skating. Once they got a glimpse of me sitting there, they avoided me and just stared.

Oh well. Children can’t be blamed for something like that.

And I must give props to my nephew for cutting in front of me once. It had stopped me from going forward and I simply fell over to one side. What a goober!!! I got him back good though when he was misbehaving in store afterwards and when his mother attempted to give him a swat on the backside, he defied it all by saying “That didn’t hurt.”  So I flicked him on the ear.

Yeah, I’m a mean uncle. Whatever. Shut up.

Nonetheless, I had told my sister that I was going to show some of her old co-workers something that they had never seen before. And it turned out that I had educated a lot of small children about what I do and how I can skate on the ice… just in a different way than they do it.

It was fun. Lots of fun. And yes, I am sore. But I am sure that come tomorrow, that soreness will be a lot worse than it is right at the moment. That’s just the way it is.

I’m supposed to do it all over again this Friday with the other assistant captain of the sledge hockey team. Just get out and skate and probably have to dodge people some more. Then he and I are going to talk some business about what he and I think the team should work on for the 2012-13 hockey season.

Fun times indeed!!

 

“In this business, life is one long fund-raising effort. “~Alvin Ailey 

Happy to say that now since the Independence Day holiday is over, that reminds me of two very special and important things that are about to happen.

One, would be the approaching Halloween season, and I have to keep reminding myself that its coming and if I ever wanted to have my dreams come true of working at the House Of Torment, I better get my game face on.

But then “game face” reminds me of the OTHER special and important thing that is soon to happen. And that is the 2012-13 season of sledge hockey!!

Needless to say that our team is still beaming with tons of pride over the fact that we claimed third place in our first ever tournament. Yes, its still being talked about. And we have every stinkin’ right to do so and be very proud of our accomplishments.

And we now are looking forward to perhaps doing it again in the upcoming season. However, it will not be as easy for us as there is talk about it being in Pennsylvania in 2013. Philadelphia, maybe????????????

I know that the StarSkaters program in Houston is considering going. They are fully aware that they must get out there and do whatever they can to fundraise.

This actually is the time now to do fundraising for sledge hockey. At least for MY team. We lost our ice rink at the end of 2011 and we never got back on the ice to practice in our hometown. Each time we got on the ice after the closing of the rink, we had gone out of town.

So there’s the need to raise money for ice time. There’s one ice rink left in town and that’s just flooded with so many different other programs that it feels like we’re being squeezed out of it. Unless we wanna practice in the middle of the night, during the middle of the week. We had become used to our practices on Sundays.

There had been rumors of a brand new ice rink being built. But there was no clear evidence of it. Just a hole that was dug in the ground. Okay, now what? There’s still no rink.

But recently I was told that it was actually going to happen. A new rink was being built and they are expected to be open for business at the beginning of this upcoming season.

Can I get a “AMEN” anyone?

But with the good came the confusing and the potentially bad. The 501(c)3 that our team was beneath the umbrella of no longer exists. And that could possibly be a problem.

I need to find out just what is going on. We could be still under the protection of a 501(c)3 that I am not aware of.

With the financial support of other people that I am connected with, they have said in the past that the sledge hockey team needed to have their OWN non-profit going on. Suddenly I am aware that if this is true and that we are not a part of any, then we could start.

And that’s all fairly technical. I know. The team still goes on with the memories of our first tournament and the burning desire to go to Pennsylvania soon.

I spoke with the leaders of the Houston program. I asked what the magic number was.

$30,000.

They are trying to do their best with a budget without really knowing exactly when and where the tournament will take place. The idea is that with travel and lodging and everything else in between, it might cost around $2,000-3,000 per player. And Houston is wanting TEN solid players to go.

I am guessing that $30,000 is a conservative figure. It really could be a lot more. I am not sure.

So I’m set and ready to go for this new season. And I am in FULL funding mode!

I am open to any and all ideas of how this goal could be achieved. Because I do believe that it is possible. Even though it is a lot.

Both hockey programs, here and in Houston, ARE non-profit.

Any little idea that anyone can think of, please let me know in the comments. We need to get a good start at this before we attempt to hit the ice. Anything and everything is appreciated!!!!!

 

 

 

“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.

 

 

 

And there it is!

The bronze medal in which I won when I participated in the USA Hockey Disabled Festival in Dallas last month.

It has been a long road these past few years. Sometimes difficult, sometimes fun. All of it: worth it!

For many years, I’ve seen players come and go on our team. A majority of them with the desire to go out and play and travel and do things like enter tournaments. But for whatever dumb reasons there were at the time, its just not what our team did. And because of that, those players left.

It is too bad, because if they would have held on, they would have been able to go to the tournament last month and play in games against other teams across the country. Finally, our team did and we received our deserved rewards yesterday at a team party which was hosted by our current coach and team leaders.

Those who went, all reflected on our progress. Coming from a crushing loss of 13-1, and then getting a chance to play in the Championship Game. But only to face the same team again that gave us that bruising defeat. They got the win 2-0, and played against the top team in the Division, but when our team watched the video tape of that second game, you could tell that the team was frustrated because they didn’t score over ten goals on us again.

All the past seasons of being a member of this team, all the practices, all the fights, all of the ups and downs, and even watching people come in and out, it takes into account all that we have done. And we put it to the test in our FIRST ever tournament and win Third Place!! How amazing is that??

But the 2011-12 season is coming to an end. The team has done so much more in this season than we have ever done before. And honestly, we have one more weekend of hockey in Houston before it all comes to an end. At least through the summer and probably won’t get started up again until October.

Sledge hockey has given me a new kind of freedom. I do not know what I would be like, if I did not have sledge hockey. I do not know what I would be doing or what would be going on without it. I’m just very glad that I do!!

So then let’s get right to it!!

Participating in this tournament meant that we were guaranteed to play at least four games. Five teams total in the division. And so this is my experience and perspective for the road to winning the Bronze Medal.

Game #1- G.L.A.S.A. vs. TSH. Final score: 13-1.

Yep, you read right. It would be the largest margin of defeat that we would endure. Many things were a factor in this eye-opening game. #1- We had never played in a tournament like this before. #2- We did not have a goalie. Instead, someone volunteered to take up the position who in their own hockey experience, never played that position before. We were unarmed with very little defense to protect our goal. We had a lot of mistakes and basically this game, we took the loss. Team leaders and supporters continually reminded us that we did score one goal, and ruined Chicago’s shut out. We would shake the cobwebs off, learn from our mistakes, and move on.

Game #2- Buffalo vs. TSH. Final score: 2-1 (SO).

Victory. We had someone coming in as a goalie this time, and that player actually plays goalie. We also had our first taste of what it was like to be winning in regulation, but Buffalo came back and tied it which caused the game to go into sudden death by a shoot out. It began with a three man shoot out for each team, and it was still tied. So then each team went to the bench and each player took a shot at the goal until a player scored. My chance at the goal didn’t get off the ice and into the air and so it was easy for the goalie to just put his glove down and stop the shot from going in.

Ending the first day of competition with a WIN was a great feeling. Our tired bodies enjoying the fact that the first game of the second day would not be until the afternoon.

We had a player in goalie, who actually was a goalie. The player was actually playing for TWO different teams in the entire tournament. My hat goes off to him for being so tough!!

Game #3- Minnesota vs. TSH. Final score: 7-0.

Personally this game was probably the beginning of my physical and mental exhaustion. It was unfortunate that minutes before the game against Minnesota, I would find out that my brother-in-law had passed away the night before and I had no idea about it. Team supporters were discussing the sad news and assumed that I had already known about it. But I had not. I was fortunate enough to be able to concentrate on the game while I was on the ice long enough to put aside the sudden news of my family’s tragedy.

Minnesota was a team of all teams. Expected to win it all. (And they did.) We played them very tough. At that point, any other team that Minnesota played… they gave them a serious beating. But when they played us, Minnesota had fewer goals scored against an opponent. And we held them to seven.

If there was a game that I would have guessed we would have been beaten 13-1, it would have been this one. But I was wrong and I’m glad that I was.

One memory that really sticks out in my mind is that while we were getting beat by Minnesota, a female player scored on us and she turned around and filled the entire ice rink with her giggling and laughter, so proud of herself for scoring a goal. Everybody there heard it. She was bouncing up and down in her sled… it was a priceless moment for her. I had to skate by her and tell her “nice shot!”. I’m sorry, but it was too cute and funny.

Game #4- Florida vs. TSH. Final score: 1-0 (SO).

Another game that went into a shoot out. The three man shoot out produced no results and both teams actually went through their entire benches before finally our team cycled through to the top again and then scored, ending the nail-biting overtime period. My chance to win it all had failed because I skated too close to the goal and the puck didn’t have a chance to gain any speed or air to get passed their goalie.

This game was essential for us to win. If we would have lost, we would have been sent home. But we won, and then an hour or so later, we were back on the ice once more to play in the semi-finals. Going into it with a record of 2-2. A few players from Florida congratulated us on our win and one even said that it was worth the elimination to have been a part of the extended and grueling overtime period as he laughed about it.

Game #5: Semi-final- G.L.A.S.A. vs. TSH. Final score: 2-0.

Wretched bloody game 5!!!

Again we played Chicago. We knew what they were capable of doing. But our team was showing huge amounts of improvement with each game played whether we won or loss. And it was our third game that we played in eight hours. As SIX MINUTE CENTURY says in their song: “Through the flames, we abide. Weary, we march on.”

This game should have gone into our third shoot out of the tournament. But there was one major problem. The officials didn’t know what they were doing!

Chicago’s first goal was crap. They took a shot at the goal, and our goalie stopped it. But then the player who had taken the shot ran right into our goalie and knocked him over. The puck sputtered behind our goalie and then Chicago tapped it in. But it should not have counted and the call should have been “goalie interference”.

Being down early kind of worked its way into our mentality, but we stuck to it and fought our hardest. Even though we did take shots at the goal.

And that kind of irritates me as well. The website that keeps tracks of the stats throughout the entire tournament said we had NO shots on goal. I had a couple, so that’s bull. One game, I’m not even listed on the roster and I was there playing. And they had me as goalie for the first game, which I was not. But I will digress and get back to game five.

With less than two minutes left in regulation, the most unbelievable chain of events happened that contributed to the 2-0 loss. And yes, I took this very, VERY personal!!

Let me draw your attention momentarily to the image of hockey sticks that is used when playing the sport of sledge hockey. The metal picks on the end of the stick are the device to help propel a player across the ice as they remain seated in a sled. These picks are very sharp and they have to be, to be able to dig into the ice and move the player along.

I was in the offensive zone and Chicago was trying to get it away. I struggled in a physical battle for the puck and fell over in the sled.

Falling over happens a lot, that’s just how it goes. But what DOES NOT happen, or SHOULD NOT happen is that these sticks are used as a weapon.

I was stabbed in the back with a stick with the metal picks coming down into my body. I did have the essential protective gear and equipment on. But with enough force behind the swing… I felt it.

I’m laying there on my side, fighting to get the puck and I’m stabbed! I noticed that an official was near by and I took advantage of it and screamed out bloody frickin’ murder when the offense happened in order to get the attention of the officials. So yeah, I played it out and whined on the ice.

The play was called dead by the whistle, “Slashing” was called for a penalty for G.L.A.S.A. #23. They made it a five minute penalty rather than a common two minute penalty because of the seriousness of the offense.

BIG PROBLEM though!

#1- The scoreboard showed that the five minute penalty for our team and not Chicago.

#2- Player #23 was NOT pulled out of the game to sit in the penalty box, instead they pulled out someone else.

Again with the cheating and stupid officials because they were idiots and didn’t know what they were doing.

With only less than two minutes left, we pulled out our goalie and had six men on the ice. Chicago got the puck and scored on our empty net to make the score 2-0.

It was #23 that scored on the empty net, and he should have been pulled out of the game in the penalty box. But no. That clinched their victory over us.

G.L.A.S.A. would go on to face Minnesota in the Championship Game. And we were going to the Consolation Game. In which we met up against Buffalo again.

Game #6: Consolation- Buffalo vs. TSH. Final score: 3-0.

Third place on the line. Our game continued to improve more and more. We were not called for the same kinds of mistakes as we had been in our first two games.

We jumped ahead early 1-0, and we never looked back. Buffalo took out their player from the goal and he played as a forward late in the third period. But we would score twice on their empty net late in the game, clinching our victory and Bronze Medal.

When it was all said and done, our team couldn’t have been happier. There was a bit of a discussion about had the officials not cheated during the semi-finals, of whether or not the Silver Medal would have been “given to us”. Well I said that we would have received the silver for sure, because we were not going to beat Minnesota, but we had earned the right to play for it.

All in all, everyone on the team, the coaches, the parents, the supporters were happier than pigs in mud about our tournament results. Not one person complained or groaned about our performance during the Consolation Game.

So now we know what its like to travel. We know what it is like to travel AND participate in a tournament and play at a higher level than what we have ever done before in the past. We have that knowledge, experience, and a higher ability to play with other teams from across the nation. Something that none of the team players had ever had before.

We know that we can do it now. And we have proven that. Coming home after a victory is always a plus. Third Place couldn’t have been any sweeter. It is going to be something that everyone is going to remember for the rest of their lives. Because I know that I sure will.