The Fight Back

I believe we get a few moments in life when we actually cry because we are so happy. A year ago, I questioned everything. I’ve always been dramatic, as I’m sure most of you know, but sometimes your heart feels incredibly full, and your cheeks are sore from smiling. I know these are fleeting moments. In a month I might be complaining about training or be upset about some mistake I made, or I might be spending too much time comparing myself to another keeper, but for now, all I know is that I worked for this moment, and I’m enjoying it.

It’s like when you step onto the field, start a new job or maybe have a child, and you have no idea how things are going to turn out, but it doesn’t matter because what you have is an opportunity to make your dreams come true. They say good things come to those who wait, and I am starting to think that’s true. Ella made me watch the movie Miracle, which is about the USA hockey team’s momentous defeat over the indomitable Russians at the 1980 Olympics. I acted upset to be watching a movie about American hockey, but truth is, I’m a total sucker for sports movies. There is a scene where the US coach, Herb Brooks, has been joyously celebrating the defeat of the Russians with his team, and then he soon finds himself alone in a quiet hallway. It’s in the quiet of the hallway that everything finally sinks in, and you can tell those moments will be something the coach will cherish his whole life. What I have learned this year is to really try and celebrate more moments. I’m not talking about throwing a party: I’m talking about giving yourself the love you deserve.

I got off the phone with my physiotherapist today with tears coming down my face. Right away Ella asked me what was wrong. I said, “Nothing. I can start training with the team,” and she grabbed me.

I have never fought so hard for a chance in my life. Doubt has danced in my mind every day, but there has always been this quiet voice telling me everything was going to work out. Along the way, I’ve come to realize the people worth fighting for are the ones who have stood by me even though they knew it meant potential heartbreak all over again. Those same people are also the ones who have never stopped believing, and in the case of my wife, she sometimes believes in me more than I do… I have beaten the odds a lot this year and every time I have she would say simply, “I knew you would.”

I have been asked a lot of questions about my return to play. I’ve ignored most of them– not because I wanted to be rude, but more because I didn’t really have the answers. The Motive Nation topic for February is about the mind. I am not always perfect, and as I have mentioned before, I haven’t always been kind to myself… but a year ago I was told the best thing for me to do was to stop playing. My mind and my heart knew that wasn’t going to happen, not yet. I am one of the best keepers in the world. I have won a bronze medal at the Olympics with Canada, and right now I’m at a club I’ve dreamed of playing with for a long time. I don’t have anything left to prove. When I was five years old, my biggest dream was to go to the Olympics, and I’ve now been to two, and I have also played in four World Cups. Anytime anyone has told me I couldn’t do something, I have proven that person wrong. I hope you join me this month, because I’ve often talked about wanting to be more confident, working on “myself”, but this time around I’m going to own it. This is a journey. There isn’t a final destination where everything clicks, and you know what? How boring would that be anyway? The beauty is in the struggle; that’s where the courage is, the unwillingness to accept defeat. That’s where I want to be.

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