I have this distinct memory of youth hockey. I must have been 11 or 12 years old, so this was pee-wee level and I was playing for a select-travel team out of Central Massachusetts. It was a Sunday afternoon and the year was…….well, nevermind. Let’s just say it started with a 19, ok?
I can’t remember who we were playing, but I do remember lining up to take a face-off about halfway through the game and looking up at the clock. We were down 7-1. Now, I don’t believe myself to be a cocky person in general, but I knew deep down that we may have deserved to be losing the game, but we didn’t deserve to be losing by that margin.
I went in to get ready to take the draw and a few seconds later the referee came to the face-off circle. I looked up at him and he looked at me, likely feeling sorry for what seemed like a game that was going nowhere. I decided to make my statement right there, so I did.
“We’re going to win this game.” I said. That was it.
The referee looked at me and laughed a little bit. It’s likely he had seen it all already and was just trying to get through another day with the whistle at the rink.
“I’m serious,” I said, “we’re going to win.” He dropped the puck.
I don’t remember much about the last half of the game, but I do remember lining up towards the end of the game after we had scored to make it 9-8 in our favor. The referee looked at me again, this time in slight disbelief and said “you called it, kid. I never thought that would happen.”
I don’t even remember how many I got or how it happened. But I remember we won 9-8 and the elation of winning a game like that, of working together as a team to overcome what seemed like a mountain-and-a-half to climb. I’m sure we had other comebacks in those years, but this is one I will never forget.
That is one of the beauties of hockey or any team sport, for that matter. For every dumb locker prank, funny joke or horrendous day at the rink, there’s ten more moments that teach you about character, teamwork and the rewards of working hard.
You don’t get that same feeling in men’s league, but it lingers there sometimes. It definitely carried with me through college and on through my professional life. You can rarely do it alone. We overcome all kinds of obstacles working here (or anywhere) and the same themes repeat themselves over and over again – it’s takes a team.
Hey, we’d love to hear stories about YOUR biggest comeback! Leave your story in our comments section!