I have been playing hockey for seven years. I have played the last two seasons with the Mason Comets club hockey team through the Swords organization. I am writing this letter to let you know how important it is for the team to become a varsity sport with Mason High School. While we have been a club team for many seasons, the club organization is continually shrinking due to other teams going the varsity route. This has taken away a lot of the competition that we used to face. But more importantly, the club program may completely go away and our Mason Comets would have no where to play as a group.
We are a very close-knit team and becoming a varsity sport would give us such a sense of community. We are all very proud to wear the Mason uniform, we dress up for school the day of the games and love the support we have received so far. We would be so proud to be a varsity sport like many of the other schools in our area. Not only would it be great for us, but also for the many younger kids that will be going to Mason in the future.
More so than any other activity I participate in at Mason, I enjoy hockey the most. Not only has it given me the chance to form great friendships with people I would not have met otherwise, but it also teaches me many lessons that I would be hard pressed to learn elsewhere. I learn teamwork, I learn leadership, commitment, self-discipline, good sportsmanship, and how to overcome challenges and frustrations. My high school hockey coaches teach me how to deal with constructive criticism, the importance of respecting others, including opponents, taking responsibility for mistakes and how to be more committed and responsible. To be perfectly honest, I am not sure where I would be without hockey. When I was younger, I was searching for a new sport to play, and I was torn between hockey and football. Luckily for me, I happened to have a doctor’s check up that week, where my pediatrician proceeded to convince me to play hockey. Why, you might ask? Well, in hockey, he said, every player gets an equal chance at the puck, and nobody is ever left out of the game. Hockey is a game of strategy just as much as it is strength.
As Steve Larmer, a New York Ranger who helps inner city kids to learn hockey, said, “Hockey can be the draw that brings kids in and we can help them, but in reality, we are teaching them life skills. Skills like creating self esteem, teamwork, problem solving, and communication, along with a form of exercise to help them live healthier lives.” (Larmer). Hockey was that bridge for me, and will be for my younger brother, who fell in love with the same sport just like I did. By the time he gets to MHS, he will want to play on a competitive team, a team that he can commit to and form bonds with his teammates, the way I have, but unfortunately that opportunity might not be available to him at Mason High School if hockey does not become a true varsity sport.
When I was in 8th grade and heard that we had a hockey team I was super excited. Mason hockey enabled me as a freshman to meet upper classmen before the school year started. When school started, I already knew some seniors and juniors, which was great. My first season was extremely fun. My second year was even better than my first year. The team has grown a lot over the course of the season, which was awesome to watch. I love going to the practices. You get to go play the sport you love with friends from school after a long school day and long hours of homework. It also motivates me to complete my homework because I can't go to practice or games if I don't have all my school work done. Hockey is a big part of my life and I'm glad that I can play on a team with such nice players and coaches.
Ice hockey is a game that is difficult and challenging. The game is one of the quickest and most physical. The thing I love most about it is the challenge. High school hockey is a fun sport to watch because the game is so fast and it rarely stops. I have gone to football games, to soccer games, to swim meets, etc. and each time there are hundreds of others there watching. To me, the word varsity means respect from my school and my peers and the chance to represent my school competing against other high school varsity teams. It means that my fellow students, my school, and my community have respect for the years of training and practice that it has taken me to reach the level I can play at. During the season, we do weight training and conditioning, we practice, and we play games. This is no different from football, or soccer, or swimming. What varsity means to me is that I can walk down that hallway, knowing that everyone knows we have a hockey team and support us. When we play high schools like LaSalle, Troy, St. Xavier, or Beavercreek, one thing is always in common. Their school is there to support them and I wish to have the same opportunity.
My dream in high school has always been to win a state championship as a team in the OHSAA. Every year when the season comes to a close and the regional brackets come out, I just look at the brackets and say to myself, “I wish I could be in that.” I go and watch varsity games a lot. I always order the dvds of the state championship up in Columbus. All I want is that opportunity. I want the opportunity to be able to play at Nationwide Arena. I want the opportunity to be able to play in front of a huge crowd and a student section with hundreds of kids all cheering for Mason. This year we played a lot of varsity teams and it was so much fun. Playing 3 teams in a club league is not fun. I want to be able to compete for a league championship, and then go on to regionals and play some of the best teams in the area. I want everybody on my team to get that opportunity. I want my teammates to get to play in front of a big student section and I want them and the coaches to get the recognition they deserve for all the hard work they put into this program. We all just want the opportunity. All I want for my senior year is for my teammates and classmates to have all the effort they’ve put into this program to pay off and it’d be an awesome experience for me to play in a varsity league my last year of high school. Next year will likely be my last year of playing hockey at a competitive level or maybe even my last year of playing hockey at all, and I don’t want to spend that year playing the same 3 teams the whole year. What better way to end my high school career than to get the opportunity to play at an NHL arena in front of thousands of people with the chance to win a state title with my teammates?
For the past 12 years, I have been playing ice hockey and enjoying every moment. What makes hockey so unique is that it is a fast paced game with continuous two-way action. There is never a dull moment from a player or fans perspective. It has been a dream of mine to play hockey at the high school level in front of other Mason students after playing so many years of travel hockey in front of "light" crowds existing primarily of parents. Over the past 2 years I have played for Mason, we have enjoyed a growing fan base and increasing attendance by Mason students. Many students have commented to me that "its better than a football game." One reason I believe hockey should become an OHSAA sport at Mason is because its a unique game and it gives students a new event to go to while opening up opportunities for other student athletes to participate in varsity athletics. I realize I am only one voice, but I know I speak for many when I ask the committee to allow Mason Hockey to become their newest OHSAA sport.