Cherish Every Moment

9/28/17 – 10/2/17
Cherish Every Moment
by Jen Lee

Photo 1: Team photo of the 2017-2018 US Sled Hockey Team in Columbus, Ohio.

The 2017-2018 U.S. National Sled Hockey Team held their first training camp in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend. This was the first time the players practice together since the team announced its 17-man roster back in August. As the first day of training camp went underway last Thursday, I gathered my memories and reminisce how nerve wrecking it was for me when I participated my first training camp with the team in 2011. The mixed emotions of excitement and nervousness ran through my body as I prepared myself to expect the unexpected. From the welcome speech our general manager gave us in the locker room, to receiving our team apparel, we were all looking forward to another great season together. I was thrilled to be on the team and I couldn’t wait to be on the ice with my teammates. Next thing you know I was getting lit up like a Christmas tree (hockey term,) and puck after puck zipped by me one after another as I began to wonder if I’m good enough to play at this level. No one expected a rookie on the team to have a stellar training camp because it was common for a first year player to struggle at their first camp while they’re trying to figure out their individual skillset. Six years later, I’m entering my 5th training camp and once again my mixed emotions with excitement and nervousness struck me. I was excited because this was my first time back on the national team since winning the gold medal together at the Paralympic Games in 2014 in Sochi, Russia., I took 2 years off after Sochi to focus on my education, and taking time away from the game gave me uncertainty and doubts if I could even compete at a high level of competition again.

Photo 2: 1st training camp underway in Ice Haus Arena

The coach ended up giving me another shot by placing me on the development team last season. As I was preparing to work my way up back up to the national team this last season, I realized how fast time can fly within a blink of an eye. It felt like it was only yesterday as it brought back memories of my sub-par performance at my first training camp six years ago. All of the pain, struggle, laughter and festivities I shared with my teammates made me appreciate how valuable each moment could be as I’m getting older. As I turned 31 years’ young this past July, I know my athletic career are slowly coming to an end. I would never have thought my 1st day of training camp in 2011 would considered as one of my many memorable moments on the team. As this maybe my last “first training camp” with the team, I’m trying to cherish every moment and value the opportunities that was given to me because you never know if you would ever be receiving it again. As the Buddha says, “You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself.” So my message to you is, appreciate the time and the path you have created for yourself and cherish it forever because the moment is yours.

Photo 3:Teammate Paul Shaus going one on one against me.


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