When you start playing such a unique sport you really do feel like it is a privilege. Every time you jump over the boards you remember that people would kill for a chance to do what you do each week. It is a hobby, but one that not many people are able to do.
I will never forget my first session on the ice and how terrifying it was. Things progressed quite quickly. Maybe it was a case of too much too soon but for one reason or another things changed and people were not happy. Eventually the team folded and that brought an end to my time playing hockey for a while.
I wondered what to do with myself. Doing 100 mile-round trips at 11pm was not something that I enjoyed and I could not commit to doing that due to changes in my work and studies. I thought about selling my kit and just scrapping the whole idea. But ice hockey has this strange appeal and no matter what happens, you do not give up.
For someone that is meant to be good with words it is difficult to explain the mentality that you develop when you play hockey. No matter what happens; you carry on. Picture Gregory Campbell during the playoffs last season: with a broken leg and his side on a penalty, he finished his shift.
So I have gone from a team that self-destructed in August 2012 to Alternate Captain with a new one. A pretty big jump you could say. My old team helped me get my foot on the ladder and for that I will always be grateful but I enjoy walking into the locker every week without all the politics that goes along with it.
When there are only a dozen rinks in the country then you can understand where the ruthless nature of some teams comes from but it is not game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals; everyone still has to go to work in the morning.
I am playing as a forward now and it’s a lot more fun both on and off the ice. We are a small group but one that would run through brick walls for each other. I’m improving each week and we have some players who were in my position this time last year. I do what I can to help because I know what it’s like to be one of the worst people on the ice.
Things are on the up and I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead for us. It is going to be a tough year but we have got the strength to battle through it.
I realise that this blog has a slightly different tone to it, but it’s not all doom and gloom. I have met some of the nicest people you could imagine and people who I would consider to be lifelong friends, all by falling about on the ice every other week.
And I would not give it up for anything.