October 29, 2003
The Athlete’s Religion
How many kids have a replica Stanley Cup with their father’s name engraved on it on display in their china cabinet? I am one of those few, and my life has taken its shape from that Cup and what it stands for: the hard work, the pursuit, and the glory. From my first hockey game at the tender age of one week old to the moves to cities across North America, my dad’s career and passion has affected my existence.
Living with a professional athlete as a father creates an atmosphere of what I call the “athlete’s religion”. It is a religion of clichés like “giving one hundred ten percent”, “going for the gold”, and “working harder than the next guy”. Although the definition of cliché means a trite, stereotyped expression, in my house those clichés hold meaning and should be followed and respected. My dad would lecture my sister and me about the value of hard work, that he always gave a little bit more than his teammates and that alone kept him in the game for so long. Now that my dad coaches, his perspective has changed and now he teaches us that coaches respect the athletes who give a consistent effort. As a young athlete and student, the message of being the hardest worker made a huge impression on me. I take all of the dad-isms and apply them to my athletic and especially academic endeavors. I believe that the primary reason I excel as a student and as an athlete come from my family’s core value of hard work and high expectations of nothing less than success.
Passion represents the second important aspect of the athlete’s religion in my household. My father lives an enviable life, because he made a career of hockey, a sport he loves. He has passed his passion for athletics down to me, and although I do not play hockey, I have found a passion of my own in swimming. Instead of the frozen pond I prefer the cool, liquid of the pool. I think about bottling pool water when I am older so I can still smell like chlorine everyday. Even during the hardest practices or the most disappointing races, my passion remains unwavering and pure. I also translate my passionate personality into the classroom, a place where I thrive. I enjoy the learning process, the challenges from my teachers and classmates, and the infinite opportunities for discovery. My passion at the pool, at school, and in life allows me to enjoy every opportunity I have, and for that I am as lucky and enviable as my father.
My athlete’s religion applies to every aspect of my life, my competitive nature, my passion, my diligence, and my goals. I appreciate my father’s hockey and attitude about success, which has created my own attitudes about life. The Stanley Cup has my father’s name engraved on it for eternity, and my father has also engraved his philosophies in my mind for my lifetime.