Roller Hockey From The Players' Perspectives

Roller Hockey From The Players' Perspectives

Their eyes have seen so much and the only direction they look is forward.
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It's for the love of the game, it's for the love of winning and the hate of losing.

Players that hail from all over the world. Their eyes have seen so much and their minds have been in both the highest and the lowest of places.

The game has changed their lives forever and their goal is to help get the sport that changed their lives to where it once was.

That sport is roller hockey and the players have all helped change the game forever. I have interviewed several players to get eyewitness accounts on how important the game really is.

There are just so many players and it would be impossible to interview them all. These players have all played at some of the highest levels in roller hockey and were all willing to share their stories.

Stephen Campbell is one of the biggest names in the sport and has dedicated his entire life to roller hockey. Campbell has played all levels of roller hockey including the men's national USA team in 2010 and 2014.

Campbell has risked so much and has put his heart and soul into every shift on the court.

"It has kept me out of trouble, I’ve made some amazing friends, I’ve traveled the world, and its given me a career. I wouldn't have picked another sport growing up if I could do it all over again," Campbell said.

There are so many factors that make this sport so special and all of these factors have helped push Campbell to where he is today.

When I asked what his favorite memory was when playing roller hockey, he replied:

"I’ll have to go with Team USA FIRS 2014 World Games. If there is anything you could ever do as a roller hockey player, this is it.

For those that don’t know, the world games is ran by the Olympic committee. The World Games offer a wide variety of sports that are trying to show the committee why each sport should be chosen as an official Olympic sport. This tournament took place in Cali, Colombia. Our opening ceremonies had over 60,000 people in a full soccer arena cheering on our presence. Every game we had 3000 to 5000 plus people watching our games.This too, we ended up winning Gold, which just so happen to have fallen on my birthday. It was a time I’ll never forget."

As mentioned above Stephen Campbell was a huge part of the team USA roller squad. In 2010 Campbell was selected to play for the FIRS men's national roller hockey team.

"I think a top 3 moment in any athletes eyes, is to one day put on a Jersey representing your Country and to compete against the world," Campbell said.

To this day Campbell stays involved in the sport as he works for Alkali, a top manufacturer of hockey equipment while also running his own custom jersey company.

Campbell has traveled all around the world to places like Italy and China. Campbell is also currently playing for the Revision Flex in the Pama Pro Invitational so make sure you check out one of the best players in the game.

Neumann was nothing short of a power house with Elite players like Shane Fox, PJ DiMartino, Ryan Carr, AJ Ehinger, Tyler Kraft, Anthony Koslow, and goaltender Michael Maczynski.

Lindenwood, a private school located in St.Charles, Missouri is a school that is known for their roller hockey team. Lindenwood is also one of the only schools to give out roller hockey scholarships; other schools include Neumann and Bethel.

These battles with other schools have helped shape Fox into the player that he is today.

"There is no better feeling than traveling the country, the world with your friends and winning," Fox said. "Most of my greatest memories and times come from traveling around and playing roller hockey."

Shane Fox is becoming a household name around the roller hockey world especially at NARCH where he plays for the Mission Labeda Snipers pro squad.

Team USA was locked and loaded with more talent than most teams and wearing number 13 was Neumann's Shane Fox.

When I asked what his favorite memory was, Fox said:

"Representing my country and playing for Team USA in the IIHF World Championships in Tampere, Finland in 2015. The treatment you get playing for that team is unexplainable and the feeling of wearing that jersey is as well."

Fox has built his career and one common theme comes out of it, winning. Fox has won two college national championships, a TORHS Pro, a NARCh Pro, and a Pama Pro Invitational championship.

A New York Islander prospect that is also a pro roller hockey player, John Schiavo has made a name for himself in both roller and ice hockey.

Schiavo is becoming a household name at Islanders camp and in the world of roller hockey.

Currently Schiavo is playing for the New York Islanders ECHL affiliate Missouri Mavericks. In the world of roller hockey, Schiavo has played for some of the biggest names in the game including Mission Bauer Next Gen, Mission Black Ice, and the world junior roller hockey Team USA squad.

Schiavo is huge ambassador of the sport and supports the notion that roller hockey helps your ice hockey game.

"Roller hockey definitely helps your vision, hands, and even your skating," Schiavo said.

The skating part isn't usually brought up but Schiavo has a skating trainer and roller is often a big contribution to his ice hockey skating.

Playing roller longer than ice definitely just shows how roller hockey can positively affect your ice game.

Schiavo grew up playing roller hockey before he ever even touched the ice proving that roller hockey breeds great ice hockey players. As expected roller hockey is brought up a lot and even at the New York Islanders training camp.

Most players knew he played roller and many of the other players in the camp have also played roller hockey at the Narch level.

Schiavo has impressed many at Islanders camp especially with his two unbelievable shootout goals.

If there is one player that I would want to look up to both on and off the ice it would be Schiavo.

There aren't many players that are as humble and good spirited as John Schiavo.

Just talking to him was a pleasure and when asked who he thinks the best player was he replied:

"It would be impossible to pick just one, everyone has their own skill set there's obviously guys like Noe, White, Cadiz, and Greg Thompson who is still one of the best defensemen in the game."

The Pama Pro Invitational kicked off July 29th and ended the 31st Schiavo's Mission Black Ice team captured the championship in a dominating 6-2 win over the Labeda Snipers. So the next time you think to yourself and say "roller hockey hurts your ice hockey game," talk to or even just watch Schiavo play and believe me you'll get a different answer.

Speed, one of the most important attributes a player can have in the game of hockey. One player that knows speed all too well is Team USA's own Junior Cadiz. In the sport of roller hockey playing for the Team USA is as close to the show as it gets.

He said:

"Every opportunity I've had was a dream com true and I am forever grateful for every chance I've had. Lets hope the old bones let me experience it once or twice more" Cadiz explained. This is yet another player that has dedicated his entire life to this sport and has played with and against some of the best players in the game including Travis Noe and Matt White. These interactions with players have helped make the game so special for Cadiz. When asked about what makes you keep coming back to the sport Cadiz replied "It's easy! The people, the weekends, the memories, the venues, lets not forget about the hockey. It’s been my job and has taken me to countries and places in the world I never even knew existed. I can’t say bye to the sport so easily after all its done for me."

Cadiz is yet another player that has made a name for himself and when I asked John Schiavo, who he thought the best player in the game is, he replied:

"There's obviously guys like Travis Noe and Matt White but there's also Junior Cadiz I think he's very underrated,"

Cadiz is often underrated until other players have the chance to play against him after that, all of that underrated talk goes out the window. Cadiz is right up there with the elites and there is only time for him to make more of a name for himself. To the people who don't think roller hockey will draw crowds talk to Cadiz who walked out to 60,000 people for an opening ceremony in Columbia. The game can only get bigger and because players like Cadiz are apart of the future the sport cannot die.

There are just so many different people in the game and it would be impossible to name them all. There will be more articles and I am definitely looking forward to interviewing more stars.

Players like Matt White, Itan Chivira, Juaquin Chivira, Travis Noe, Tyler Spezia, Kyle Novak, Brett Leggat, Greg Thompson and many more.

So many people have touched this sport for the better and have been amazing ambassadors for the sport.

One of these people who deserves recognition is CJ Yoder. Yoder is a player, coach, and mentor recognized all over the country.

Yoder plays for the pro Tour Mudcats team and is a huge factor in the teams success Yoder is a huge reason that the sport of roller hockey is growing so much as he founded the Professional Inline Hockey Association (PIHA) in 2002.

We need more people like Yoder, people that aren't afraid to step up and make a change. With this said let us spread the word to every possible media outlet and lets get roller hockey back on the map. Maybe one day, one day we will see roller hockey back on television until then we all have a job to do. All of our eyes as athletes have seen so much and the only place we can look is forward.

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Christian Boys Vs. Godly Men

It is time to stop settling for the lesser of the two.
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Ladies, there is a huge difference between a Christian boy and a Godly man; therefore, it is time to stop settling for the lesser of the two.

So many times I hear girls saying:

“Well, he’s a Christian.”

“He goes to church with me.”

“He listens to Christian music.”

“He went to church camp.”

“He has a favorite bible verse.”

SEE ALSO: What An Attractive Man Looks Like

Well, all of those things are just peachy and there is nothing wrong with doing those things. I mean, they’re all good things to do. But how is his personal relationship with God? How is his prayer life? Does he talk about his relationship with God, with you? Is he truly a follower of the one true God in all aspects of his life? These are some of the characteristics you should be looking for that makes a Godly man.

Ladies, a man will love you great when he loves God greater.

A Godly man will pursue an honest relationship with you. He will be clear of his intentions. A Godly man will worship, pray and passionately praise God with you. Whereas, a Christian boy might open the door for you, a Godly man will open his bible and explore God’s word with you so that you both may grow spiritually, together. While a Christian boy may put on an outward show, a Godly man will live out the love of Jesus daily.

So ladies, are you catching on to this ongoing trend? A Godly man does more because you deserve more.

A Godly man will be a leader. Trust me, I know that in today’s society Godly men are few and far between while Christian boys come in plenty. But you deserve a man who is after God’s heart not just a boy who goes to church. And I know that this Christian boy may seem great and have some really stellar qualities at the time but money and looks fade, whereas, an ongoing love for our savior will not.

The greatest thing a man can do for a woman is to lead her closer to God than himself. (Yes, yes, yes).

SEE ALSO: As Christians, Life Isn't Supposed To Be Hard

So I beg of you, do not settle. Do not settle just because you’re tired of being single, it’s convenient or because you want the relationship your friend has. Single does not equal available and a relationship status does not define you. God uses your season of singleness to prepare you for what is to come. And if you’re dating a Christian boy, he needs to step it up or you need to move on. Wait for a Godly man who is ready to lead you. God’s timing is always better, always. No matter the circumstance. So, do not rush God. (I mean, He is, after all, pretty good at His job). Therefore, turn your full focus to Him and He will direct your path.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Cover Image Credit: Christina Sharp

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From Student-Athlete to N.A.R.P.: Identity Theft

For a lot of athletes, we tend to feel like the sports we play define us. Learn more about the journey in Part two of the "From Student-Athlete to N.A.R.P." series.

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So you're done playing... now what?

When you abruptly stop playing the sport you've played your whole life, something happens. I like to call this, Identity Theft.

This is something that many athletes, including myself, have experienced. Instead of waking up for conditioning at 6 am, you're waking up 15 minutes before class to get ready. You're no longer looking forward to or dreading practice (me) in the evening. Maybe you find that you're no longer "important" on campus. People aren't looking up to you anymore, and maybe you feel like you've just become a number. Some portion of your self-esteem has disappeared, you don't know where you belong anymore, and all of a sudden it's more difficult to make friends.

For some people, being an athlete is their main characteristic about themselves. Maybe even a personality trait, some may argue. Once you stop doing something you used to do everyday, a self-discovery journey is necessary. It's a journey that's for sure, and not a short one.

It's a marathon, not a sprint.

You may struggle to figure out who you are, all over again. It's comparable to recreating yourself. Some retired athletes will continue to thrive in their sport, even if they aren't playing for their school anymore. Some, like me, will go through the days, weeks, and months, not knowing what to do with themselves, or who they even are anymore (I didn't lift a weight or break a sweat for 6 months straight).

Before you know it, you begin to question yourself.

What am I good at? What am I passionate about now? Am I good at anything besides basketball?

These are the questions I asked myself every single day. Tearing my self-confidence down piece by piece because I didn't have the answers. I haven't always been the most social person, that being said, the friends I made were through sports. Teammates, opponents, fans- these were all friends I didn't need to work for. Not only that, I all of a sudden had all of this free time and had no idea what to do with it. Yeah, I could do homework, but that got boring after a while.

So what happens next? For me, it was depression.

Something that once defined you is no longer a part of your life anymore. The one thing that people thought about when they heard your name, is now nonexistent. The best way to describe life after being an athlete in my opinion is Identity Theft, because it almost feels like you've been robbed of a vital quality of yourself. And what's funny is I never thought it would be this way for me, because I never let basketball define me, yet there I was.

I'm here to say this:

Pick yourself up and remember who you are. Being great at that sport you once played was just one of the qualities of the stellar human being you are. You are more than your sport. You do have a purpose and a place in this world, even if you don't know it yet. This journey will be scary, but you'll discover new things about yourself that you didn't even know existed.

Since completing this self-discovery journey, I have learned that I am not as introverted as I thought I was, or at least used to be. I like art, music, and even writing. Never in a million years did I think I'd be writing articles that would be shown to the public. Helping people and learning about people is something I am now passionate about. I look back at my old self and sometimes can't recognize her because things are so different now, but I am grateful for those chapters in my life because they helped mold the person I am today.

I've learned the best life lessons from playing sports my whole life, and that is what should be taken from that whole experience. Very rarely do you end up playing your sport forever- everyone can't be a professional athlete.

Identity theft is a real issue that occurs in retired athletes. It is important that you, the athlete, understand what is going on, as well as the people around you.

This isn't the end of your life, it's truly just the beginning.

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