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The People Who Make a Difference

Jane Gervais, Grade 11
Although I’m a hockey lover, I sincerely believe that in a broader sense, this clip applies to the passion those of you have.

I had to show you this video because no one can describe what passion is better than Hayley Wickenheiser. In those few seconds, she found the right words to describe that even with all the sacrifices it takes and all the tough moments you go through, you can’t stop yourself from doing what you love.

For her and me, it’s hockey. But for you, it may be something else. Ever since I’ve watched this video, I have always felt like it was written for me and everything that she says is true… but especially how she said that it wasn’t about the wins, but about the people.

This year, hockey hasn’t always gone smoothly for me. In fact, I questioned and doubted myself many times. But one night, as I was being very emotional and irrational and even doubting my future in the sport, I started to rewind through the very beginning of my hockey years. A few major elements appealed to me:

• My first season, when our best score was a 0-0 tie. We didn’t win a single game through the entire season.
• When I was 10 but I was the goalie to a team of 13-14 year olds.
• The season I played as a right winger instead of as a goalie.
• When I fought my way and played at the highest possible level for my age on the boys’ side.
• And at the beginning of last year, when I was attending my third high school in 4 years to pursue my passion.

Much like what Hayley says in the clip, my reflection that night got me to realize that my best memories weren’t all positive in the moment but all were something I am now proud of having accomplished. While these are the main elements of my young career, my thoughts also made me realize that there is way more to them than just the facts. I told you about the facts of my hockey years, but really, I wish it was as easy to let you know about the people! The people who helped me along my journey and the ones who completely changed my path in a positive way. THEY are the ones I’ll remember. THEY are the ones I wish I could introduce you to.

My mom, who agreed to let me play hockey for ONE season…

My dad, who built me an outdoor rink on our front-lawn with a homemade Zamboni and lights.

Carl, who always had the right words.

Kim, who held an extra practice for a bunch of us goalies.

Caro, who believed in me during a moment of my life when I couldn’t believe in myself.

Mike, who gave me a spot on his team although others would tell him not to because I was a girl.

Miss V, who convinced my parents to let me attend Stanstead.

The friendships we’ve made, the bonds we’ve created over the years with teammates, coaches and teachers, that’s what will stay with us. And you know what? Over the break, I found out that I was one of those special people for a kid in my hometown. A few years ago, during my first hockey season, I met my first fan: she was almost 2 years old! When she would watch hockey on TV, every time she saw a goalie, she would call out my name! We all thought it was cute but I didn’t make anything of it. Well, she now plays goalie on a boys’ team and she’s living her passion. That made my day.

At some point, let these people know how much of a difference they made in your life. Even if you feel shy or insecure, do it! Because that little acknowledgement can make a big and positive difference in your mentors’ life. They most likely don’t know how much of an impact they have had in YOUR life. And it will probably make their day too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                   - Jane Gervais