So I know I can talk a lot about the things you can lose at a moment’s notice. Today is all about what you can make out of it and the opportunities it can present.
As soon as the decision was made that I wouldn’t be skating any more I had to look at my options. I could quit and leave the league altogether but that just wasn’t an option in my head. We all know how addictive this game is and how your team become your second family. At this point I think I needed them more than ever so leaving just wasn’t going to happen for me. So what about NSOing? Well, I had NSO’d a lot over my time on skates and continued to after stopping but it didn’t quite cut it for me. I needed that competition, that drive to win and to feel a part of a team. So that left bench staffing. Could I do that? Did I have the knowledge? The skills? Would people even like me?!
Anxieties aside, it was the obvious choice for me. So about six months after the injury I benched my first game – a mixed opener for DRR. I had three of my teamies with me which was actually really nice as we kind of supported each other through our first games together. I remember having a team talk before the game started and thinking “god, I hope I look like I know what I’m talking about!!” and just being a bag of nerves. Then the first whistle blew and it all disappeared. I suddenly had a job to do so I just kind of got on with it. It all passed in a blur but we managed to take the win which felt nothing short of amazing. I found it really emotional as I thought I would never experience that win, because I couldn’t skate anymore, so when I did it really blew me away. That first
game really was the start of a new chapter for me and I went from strength to strength. A recent highlight was being able to line up for an all star England team. I felt totally out of my depth working with the likes of Kitty Decapitate and Stefanie Mainey but it was such an incredible game to be a part of.
The stand-out high point for me was being voted in as line up for my league’s A-team. I worked for a long time to get there and it really felt incredible to be recognised by my home league as being worthy of working at that level. I will be forever thankful for the opportunities that they have offered me and will never forget the support I received during the most difficult of times. The girls on that team truly are my heroes and every day I hope to be considered good enough to continue to work with them again, in any context. I’ve continued to work with mixed teams of varying levels but I don’t think anything will ever match that feeling of belonging I got from that season.
The point is that life doesn’t always go the way you’d planned or hoped for but in going wrong, it often presents us with opportunities we might never have encountered otherwise. Next time something goes wrong, don’t call it going wrong. Call it going differently, because that’s all it is. Fate is what happens to you, destiny is what you do with it.