I leaned that in life you are always going to have endure certain things whether you chose to or not. I chose to endure this intense hockey camp and in the end, I wouldn’t trade my experience there for anything in the world. I am so proud of myself for getting through that, and I wish I could convince more people to take a chance like I did.
I am proud that I got very in touch with myself. This class all together has taught me that I am stronger then I thought I was, and that endurance is not exactly a bad thing.
I laced up my skates with my hands shaking. I looked around the empty locker room and felt an uncomfortable breeze. I was attending Hamilton hockey camp, and I was about to endure the hardest two weeks of my whole life. I stepped onto the ice and saw three hockey coaches standing center ice with a bag of pucks to the left of them. They looked serious, and I must have looked terrified. They told me, and the three other Canadian girls in my group, to skate five laps. I thought, “not that bad” in my head. It wasn’t until I was in the locker room after a three hour ice session, dry-heaving into a trashcan, that I knew this place was going to be a living hell.
Chris McCandless set fire to his money and his social security card. No car, no money…nothing. He was on his way to changing his lifestyle for what he believed, was for the better. Each day in the beginning was a struggle and as more days past the realization of what he was doing, finally started to kick in. However, he managed to channel his inner motivation and say: “The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences.” Personally, I don’t think Chris would have been able to say something like this so carefree until he had seen things that no other man has seen. He was beginning to think and act outside the box and was beating the odds of freedom.
My soccer coach Mick Hild once told me “nothing ever make you want to move slower then somebody telling you to move faster.” This quote ran through my head the entire time I was at Hamilton. “FASTER, SKATE HARD, HEAD UP” were just about the only words those coaches said to me when we were on the ice. When they would say that all I wanted to do was sit down and pass out. I wasn’t going to though, I was going to complete this. I had to self motivate myself to do everything they were telling me and shut off everything around me in order to gain the concentration I needed to proceed. On his journey, Chris didn’t have anyone telling him to go forward…in fact he had more people telling him to stop. Throughout his whole journey he made the concept of hope a lifestyle. When you are put into a situation you feel is impossible, you have to have faith that something good is going to come out of it. Even though Chris didn’t make it out of his journey alive, through his journal we are all able to learn and envy everything he discovered. In comparison, I can say that there are so many girls on my hockey team that wish they could go back in time and do that hockey camp, simply because of how much better it made me.
I will agree that Chris and my stories are very, very different; however, they do embody some of life’s main principles. We both can live by his quote “When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it” easily on a day-to-day basis. I’ve always believed that good things happen to those who work and that everyone has to make their own luck in this world. Yes, it might be a harsh truth, but it opens up an enlightening reality. If I could talk to Chris right now I would ask him about how he made faith and hope a lifestyle. I would also just try and have a conversation with him so I could compare his views and opinions on life to my own. In my experience at Hamilton Hockey Camp, I was forced to create a mentality that if I work hard, the game will soon become fun. Hockey is not a sport that just anyone can play. It takes an incredible amount of patience, strength, and passion but most of all, playing a game like that has to make you feel free. Hockey acts like an escape and like Chris said, “The freedom and simple beauty is too good to pass up…” Unlike me, Chris actually physically took himself out of society…and I envy him for that. I could never abandon my family and life like he did, but I can try to have a taste of his freedom through my escape sport called hockey.