Posts Tagged ‘team’

“The show must go on.”

So my time back on the ice was “pretty good”. Bittersweet perhaps?

We had eight come out this time. It was far better than the last time when only five of us show up on the ice.

I think that it was a great showing of our sport. I know that a lot of us who were there talking in the locker room when it was all said and done that they had a lot of fun. And yes, that is the important part. However, it wasn’t without difficulty.

Having to place on ice that is dirty and chewed up, is a constant struggle when you are playing on sleds. It was so hard to move that many times I found myself unable to simply turn around.

We played in front of 4,734 people. Not quite a sold out crowd. But still, that is a lot of people.

I still see the need for heavy improvement with our team. And I’m not quite sure how to go about taking it to the team to explain to them what we can do to make ourselves better. And it isn’t necessarily on the ice skills. But rather the cohesiveness AS a team that is crumbling and falling apart.

When we’re given specific instructions to be at a certain place at a certain time, and we’re stuck waiting because one person didn’t follow instructions… this makes for those of us who are passionate about the sport, being a team, and doing things right– a time and a place to just growl in frustration. It makes us look horrible when that person, is our very own team captain.

The other assistant captain and I only wish that he’d take things more serious than he has ever in the past. He not only represents our team, but himself. And when he pulls stupid crap like what all he did last night, his own reputation as a sledge hockey player goes down the tubes.

It shouldn’t have been any surprise to anyone involved with the team why I was throwing things in the locker room when it we were done. I didn’t speak to anyone. I didn’t look anyone in the eye. But I would cringe to myself when I would hear “Good job guys! You looked great out there!”.

Really? Well… I should take the compliment, so thank you.

But this team presses on. “I” will press on. We will have yet another appearance tonight. Hopefully a better result than last night.

If it sounds like I am putting a lot of pressure on myself…. I am.

After being off the ice for two months and having to bounce back from surgery, it was hard for me to sit there and say “That was great!”.

But maybe it was. So who knows?

And still throughout all of this “stinkin thinkin’ ” I AM proud of myself for doing what I needed to do last night to show the crowd just who we are and what we can do. I look forward to the next time.


“The British Red Cross asked me to help them spearhead a fundraising campaign for the victims of the war in Nicaragua. It was a turning point in my life. It began my commitment to justice and human rights issues.”~ Bianca Jagger

Wildly enough it is that time where I am finding in my personal life to go out in this great big world and ask for donations.

Fundraising always sounds like a thrill but only on the surface. Once a person actually goes out and tries to earn donations for a specific cause or reason, they are either successful or they are not.

So here I am- my schedule becoming busy this month as there are many things that I am about to be involved with my sledge hockey team in order to raise funds so that we can pay for ice time for practices.

This is the beginning of my fourth season. Already in the two sessions we’ve had, I have been ultimately successful ON the ice with five goals scored. But this season is rather different as I have not in seasons past, had to go out and raise funds just so we have ice time for practice.

The team received an e-mail saying that if we get no more money, there will be no more hockey this year. Which really sucks. I mean really really really really sucks! I was looking forward to advancing this season as a player and working ever harder towards my personal goals in the game of sledge hockey. And now it appears that there’s nothing??

I’m not entirely sure how that could be, but it is.

I am happy to report that so far I HAVE been successful. I have brought in $500 in donations. (And with the price tag of $200/hr for ice, that’s another two times on the ice and its only November and hockey is supposed to go on until May.)

My own personal goal is $1,000 so I think I should be happy that even at this early stage I am already half way there to reaching my goal. $1,000 would give us a month straight of ice times. Yes, I am proud of that. And I hope that I will continue to be successful.

But fund raising isn’t really all that simple and easy. You have to be able to accept a lot of people telling you “NO” or giving you answers in which they are saying one thing but are meaning another. And usually that too, is a “NO”. But then some times you find that person that will say “YES”.

Over and over again though, you have to deal with the disappointments before you can land something that is desired. That’s just the way it is.

I have seen from my own personal experiences that a lot of people get frustrated and sick and tired of hearing “NO” all of the time. And from that, they give up and stop trying. But seriously, there’s not a person on this planet that has earned anything by giving up.

That desire to dust yourself off and keep trying has to stay strong when asking for donations. There may be a lot of locked doors, but eventually you’ll find one that isn’t.

As for myself and my team, we are not in a financial position to cover the expenses needed each year on our own. Even though we are under the umbrella of a 501(c)3… we must find our own ways to come up with money to support the team, at the very least cover the expenses of our ice time. And thus the fund raising becomes a very necessary evil.

Whether or not I make it to my personal goal of $1,000.. I do not know. If I do not then I know that I have been able to contribute towards two times more on the ice this season. And that of course is two more times that we didn’t have before.

Personally though, it kind of bothers me that I have become successful this quick so far. There was an announcement that I had brought in all of this money in front of the team. Now hopefully that was used to show the rest of the team that if I can do it, they can do it too!! I have this rotten fear that if the team doesn’t have that desire within, and they give up too quickly that they will just assume that I will do it all. And that is not fair to me. So I’m getting out this frustration about it here in this blog post.

I do not want to become the one person that the team leans upon. At least not in this sense. I am a leader of the team ON the ice, but I don’t want to have “to do it all” OFF the ice as well. That would take a lot of time out of my personal training and strength conditioning to do so.

To be fair, we will have other activities coming in 2012 where the fund raising WILL be a team effort. But for now, its off the ice and going from person to person, business to business to look for funds.

I love play sledge hockey. I love being a part of this team. I do not mind being a team leader. I just don’t want to be the team’s automatic “do-it-all”. Instead I would want to encourage them by my actions of success to have them get out and do it as well.

There definitely is no “I” in “TEAM”.

Today is the season ending performance for the Austin Blades. I think that is a bitter sweet ending to a season that was filled with promise for the team’s future.

This though for me, is the end of my third season of playing. I think that I have done well and I hope that the coaching staff believes that I have improved.

A lot has happened since the end of last year’s season. The Blades were able to step it up a notch when I had completed the task of getting a logo that would go on to our practice jerseys. A task that had started way back in June of last year. It finally became a reality six months later. The team was thrilled.

We’ve lost some team members throughout the year. Some from illnesses and surgery. But I believe that our core members stuck through it all season long. I call it, “The Awesome Foursome”.

I will however miss being on the ice. Unfortunately for me, my season came to an end when back in March, I ended up with pneumonia. I never recovered fully enough to return on to the ice. And when I was healthy enough to play, we had no ice time. I am hopeful that with the beginning of next season I will be able to keep in better health and be able to continue in my goals of one day being on the U.S. National Team and represent my country.

Unfortunately, the team was unable to secure any tournament play this year. And we as a team, were given the shaft when it came to having a performance during the intermissions of an AHL hockey game locally. Last year’s performance during an intermission, we played in front of over 6,000 people! Absolutely exciting!!

But the team members will take the summer off. Coaching staff as well. I am hoping that our core members will continue to do whatever they can to find some ice time on their own so that they are able to continue in their strength and endurance throughout so that come the time we begin next season, we are able to hit the ground (or ice in this matter) running at full force and never look back.

I’m going to miss it, for sure. I’m sad that I was not able to get back on to the ice and do what I love to do the most. But the ice won’t go away, I will some day make a return. My passion is too strong to let it just go.

In the mean time, I will do what I did last summer during the break. Strive for donations and help. My mind will focus on doing what I can to help make the team better from off the ice.

Our team though needs a van. One that will be able to carry players, sleds, and equipment so that we CAN participate in tournament play in other cities across the country.

My time on the ice with the team ends for now, but my dedication and work for the team continues.


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.