The Truth About Being a Female Hockey Fan

The Truth About Being a Female Hockey Fan

When you've been watching the sport since the age of three, it's not because the players are nice to look at.

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Growing up, I was never on a soccer team or a softball team. The closest I came to softball was being a horrible t-ball player.

However, growing up, I was a swimmer and a gymnast. Both sports made me feel powerful, illuminated strength I was not aware I possessed, and always gave me a rush of adrenaline. I think this rush of adrenaline is why I like hockey so much. I found the same rush from watching the sport as I did from swimming in a relay or doing a routine on the floor.

At the age of three, my dad was carrying me across St. Paul to see the Wild play at the Xcel Energy Center.

We moved around a few times, so I've picked up a few favorite hockey teams.

We've watched the Philadelphia Flyers on TV for as long as I can remember. We moved to Chicago, so I started paying attention to the Blackhawks. We lived in California for a while. I never really grew attached to the Kings, but I did thoroughly enjoy the Martinez goal to win them the Stanley Cup in 2014.

In my younger years of being a hockey fan, I was not aware of what was happening in the game, other than the laughter that spilled from my lips when someone fell on the ice. There was also that one time where I audibly screamed, "Fall down!" when someone, indeed, fell down. It's a good thing I was a cute child.

As I grew into my teenage years and expressed my love for this sport, people got suspicious. And by people. I mostly mean boys. According to the average teenage boy, girls aren't supposed to like hockey, and if they do, it's because hockey players are notoriously attractive. There was no possible way I could enjoy hockey as a sport. Well, newsflash, I can, and I do.

If there's one thing you should know about me, you should not try to challenge me on the things I am passionate about, and hockey falls under this category. I've fought in many "how much do you truly know about hockey?" arguments and floored my opponent. While I got my love of hockey from my dad, I also got my ability to argue from him, as well. He is a lawyer, after all, so those boys didn't stand a chance.

My days of standing up to high school aged boys are over, but the idea that women only watch hockey for the men is not. I am not going to deny that there may be women who do watch for the players, but those women are not the majority. The terms for females who watch hockey are not those of endearment, and frankly, I'm tired of seeing them on social media and hearing them. The days of harassing female hockey fans need to end, mainly because there are more critical issues in hockey to discuss.

I'm going to turn your attention now to Daniel Carcillo's twitter video about his experience with brain injuries from his time in the NHL. Carcillo, a former Chicago Blackhawk, and Philadelphia Flyers player has recently been advocating for the awareness of concussions and brain injuries and the way they are mishandled and mistreated. While people may not have agreed with the way Carcillo played hockey sometimes, there is no arguing with his stance on concussion health. Instead of complaining about women liking hockey for the players, or in general, educate yourself on this important matter.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Towson Swimming And Diving's Relationship With The Special Olympics Is So Important

Supporting such a great foundation has been an incredible experience.

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It is evident that people with an intellectual disability face a difficult, uphill battle to achieve acceptance and other benefits of society that most people take for granted. The Special Olympics is such an important tool for these people, which I have recently had the privilege to learn first hand.

Each year, the Towson swim and dive team helps coach and work personally with a Special Olympics program. We set aside a Saturday morning after practice each month to work with local Special Olympians in the pool. This consists of providing them with practice and helping them complete it to the best of their ability.

Through doing this, I have met so many lovely, genuine people.

Our team coming together to support such an important foundation is truly the best feeling. It is incredibly moving to not only meet the athletes, but actually get to know them. We spend so much time talking and working with these Special Olympic athletes on how to get better, and it makes the meet hosted for them at the end of their season even more heartwarming for us to witness.

This past weekend, our team hosted and competed against Drexel University's swim and dive team. We had a break during the meet to bring in all of our Special Olympians to each race in one event of their choice. From the moment all of them walked onto the pool deck, the joy they brought was naturally contagious. There is just something so sincere about each of these Special Olympians' smiles that when all of them were together sharing the spotlight, the place was radiating positivity. It made me realize that everyone was there to simply celebrate the ability of these people, instead of focus on disability.

The opportunity to help Special Olympians become better at the sport I love made me realize so much. After high school, most Special Olympic athletes do not get the opportunity to compete anymore on teams or individually as I do, which is why unified sports events are so crucial. Teaching these Special Olympic athletes how to compete and seeing how excited they could be reminded me to enjoy the competition I am so lucky to be surrounded with.

The image of our home pool exploding with joy and energy for these Special Olympians who were so proud to be competing in a race is forever engrained in my mind.

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