THE WHYTE STUFF: Hockey can be the perfect getaway from life’s negativity
Ice hockey – a sport where young athletes compete in the game they love.
Where parents cheer them on and provide the opportunity for them to reach their potential. Where coaches strive to develop skill and cohesive play. Where associations shape their programs to test their meddle with their rivals. Where the state continuously endeavors to build an overall product that is worthy across the nation. Where the country takes pride in those that have accomplished great success in the sport they love.
Ice hockey is a wonderful cycle of life and all that it entails.
Although this sport can provide so many glorious moments, along with the hope of achieving greatness, it is also where we find pain and sorrow. It can be the stomping grounds that ALL hockey players come to realize that no one is free from the torment of life and all of the repercussions that follow with it.
As a child, I have experienced the stresses and anxieties that envelope us in life. I’ve lived through many hardships of loss and frustration to the point where you feel there is nothing left to save you. It is a very empty perception that leads one to believe they are truly alone. Fortunately for me, I was able to forge my way through the negative and adverse factors that stood before me and pursue my dreams.
That, sadly, is not the case for far too many. There are children in our circle that suffer so greatly and internally that we unequivocally never know the struggles they are wrestling with or fighting to overcome.
Recently, a young man, hockey player and friend to many, passed away. At the age of 15, he was a great goaltender, feared by many, pursued by more, and admired by all. He struggled in life far more than any of us could have realized.
Micah was an athlete that loved the game of hockey, to the extent that it was his saving grace. Not only did he play the position of goaltender, but he was extremely good at it. I can vividly remember telling my players last season during state playdowns that our main focus was to get pucks on net, create chaos and attack all rebounds. The team he played for was one we could beat easily, if we could get through Micah’s shield, and then ultimately move on to nationals. The result of the game was a loss on our end, as Micah proved his worth, stood his ground, and held us off. We threw all we could at him that day, but the victory was his. We knew that although we were the better team, resolve in an athlete like Micah was not going to be penetrated.
The ultimate message is this: So many of us are so quick to make decisions and criticize those within our circles, yet we don’t truly know what they are going through. Before you jump to conclusions, or look to pass judgment, please realize that of all the mayhem and turmoil that you are going through at this given moment, there are others out there that are possibly going through far more extenuating circumstances that you can even imagine. At the end of the day, this is just a game – one that we can all learn from and become better people along the way.
Hockey should be a haven – a game that our youth can play and forget about the nasty reality of the world, if only for just a while.
A lesson to be learned in this tragedy – hug, kiss, love and remind those you hold close to your heart that they mean the world to you and you will always be there.
God bless all of YOU! And to Micah and family, words cannot express… We love you and will be there for you!
Sean Whyte is the director of hockey operations and coach-in-chief at DYHA.