Nonsense, Bonding, and Sentimental Sports
This weekend marked Club Hockey's first overnight trip of the season: three games and two nights in Portland, Maine, facing off against some of the northeastern-most teams in our conference. One of the weekend's best moments—and the one that resonated with me most, above all the late-night-nonsensical bonding and banter—was when one of our rookie players, a graduate student who hadn't played on an organized team in a number of years, stood up and gave tribute to the opportunity to just be on the ice as part of the club. The room suddenly got incredibly sentimental—something that rarely happens amongst any group of rowdy hockey players who like to blast dance music and listen to low-brow comedy podcasts—and I realized what incredible chance I've had to be part of such a team. While there certainly are plenty of highs and lows, I can hardly imagine my college career without it.
In high school, I was involved in a bunch of different athletic activities that varied with the season. That included playing two sports almost every fall, and eventually moving on to the point that I was juggling a junior hockey career with staying on top of my schoolwork. As such, when I was touring colleges, one of my serious considerations was always reaching out to the club hockey coach; it certainly wasn't a game-changing variable, but it was an important consideration, as it has always been part of my life and I had played seriously for much of my life, especially in the more recent years. At Dartmouth, I found a program that was restructuring, and with new coaches and new leaders, I think I came at the perfect time; when it came down to crunch time at the decision deadline, it was definitely a non-negligible factor.
The one thing I could have never expected was the other activities I'd get involved in around campus. For instance, I ended up joining the climbing team, and I probably spent more time in the bouldering gym than I even did on the ice. Dartmouth, as I found out, is a very active campus, and so that spot in my life that had always been devoted to staying in shape and competing was quickly and easily filled by new activities on campus. Altogether, there's no need to be a varsity athlete to be involved in these types of things, and that's something that I've come to love about this campus.