The dictionary defines success as “an accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”
Success is achieving desired aims, a triumph. But success is not always built off of prior success. It is sometimes
built off of failure and hard work. It is falling six times and getting up the seventh. Struggling, but never quitting. Knowing you are your only limit, and your biggest competition in the mirror. Success is all the small efforts repeated day-in and day-out. It is playing the hand that you were dealt like it was the one you wanted. Success is doing all the things that other people didn’t want to do. It is being someone nobody thought you could be. Success is delivering more than what is expected, learning the rules of the game and playing it better than anyone else. It is not waiting for an opportunity. It is creating one!
I am 14-years old and have been playing have been playing hockey since I was in the Novice Division. Throughout the last few years of hockey I have learned that there is a door to success in hockey that can be unlocked if you have the desire.
In my opinion, there are three keys that a player needs in order to unlock that door. The three keys are: motivation, strength and no regrets.
Gordie Howe once said, “You’ve got to love what you are doing. If you love it, then you can overcome any handicap or soreness or all the aches and pains and continue to play for a long, long time.”
Every player is motivated in their own way. Mine began in September 2016. That month, I tried out for a Bantam Female AA team in Lloydminster. Throughout the week of tryouts, my parents and other players and parents were telling me I was doing great and that I was probably going to make the team. I made the first cut but was told I needed to be more aggressive. The AA team took about 22 players to Calgary to an Inter-Squad Tournament.
Looking back, I think I played well that weekend. I got one goal (of the six total goals scored by our
team), and most importantly in my mind, the heart and hustle which was chosen by the coach of the opposing team.
After a weekend of hockey I got home and anxiously awaited a call from the coaches. Each player was to get a phone call telling them whether or not they made the team, and why or why not. When I got my phone call, the coach of the team told me I had a good weekend but unfortunately I had fallen short compared to the other defensemen (which is
ironic because I am 5’11”). That was the only explanation I got. I was devastated. I had looked forward to having a strong team of players and coaching staff that could tell me what I needed to work on and how I could develop as a player.
At this point, I knew I couldn’t just quit hockey because I had worked so hard to get to this tryout. After a little time to think, I decided to play hockey in Vermilion, Alberta. We had a strong coaching staff and I made so many new friendships that I probably would not have made if I made the AA team in Lloyd. The lesson I learned from tryouts is, in my opinion, the first key to success — motivation. It is not necessarily the opinions of others that should motivate me. Motivation needs to come from inside. It is learning to value teamwork, friendships, participation and dedication.
I am now a leader of the Tigers’ team. Playing in Vermilion has allowed my little sister to also play on a female team in Vermilion. She now gets to enjoy everything I have enjoyed from the last four years of playing on a female hockey team. I had to continue to be motivated after such an upsetting experience, and since hockey is something that I have always loved, it was an easy thing to do.
Another key to success is strength. In hockey, two types of strength are required: physical strength and mental strength. Being 5’11”, I have a lot of physical strength. I am typically the tallest player on the ice and on average have a 55-mph shot. Even though my opponents see my strength as being my physical attribute, I know that my real strength lies in my unwillingness to give up and to persevere when times are tough. This form of strength
helped me in moving on after my tryout experience. The smile that my family sees on my face during a game is proof that I am stronger than I once was.
The last key to success is having no regrets. I do not regret trying out for the AA team because I have learned so much from that experience. Something I have learned from playing hockey is that everyone makes mistakes but you have to learn from them. A strong player has to use positivity and other strengths to develop and become better. Having no regrets to me means when I look back at the tryout experience, I will not dwell on what happened. Instead, embrace the lessons that I learned.
I have always had a dream about meeting Meaghan Mikkelson. She is such a great hockey player and is one of my greatest inspirations. Ever since I first watched her, I have wanted to play for Team Canada and play in the Olympics one day. Success is having no regrets, letting your dreams be bigger than your fears. I have realized from this whole experience that sometimes there is no ways to understand the logic or the decisions that are out of my control, and that everything happens for a reason… only one reason at a time! So, here I come European Summer Series – Legacy Global Hockey Tournament in Finland!
Written by Elyssa Selte