16 October, 2012

Training Alongside the Women’s National Team

To most people this would be a dream so far away that you would give up hoping. Knowing that I am probably one of the only kids who have this opportunity gives me the chills. There is a beginning to every story, mine starts in Blaine, Minnesota December of 2011. This was the first camp my dad and the rest of my family were traveling to for the national team.  My dad is currently the head strength and conditioning coach for the national team, this camp was both a first for him and I. The 3rd day of the camp my dad told me that I was allowed to come! I was so excited to go I couldn't sit still. When I first walked in to watch the warm-ups before on ice I was speechless. As the players started arriving in small groups I was able to pick out people my dad had told me about including 4 time Olympians Angela Ruggiero and Jenny Potter. I sat down next to my dads bag and I watched in amazement. Seeing all of my idols there before my very eyes was so cool. My dad told me to go into the day thinking I would meet a few people but nothing more than that. Boy was he wrong! The next thing I know I am having a conversation with Erika Lawler and heading into their locker room to meet all her teammates. Here I was welcomed with many warm smiles from players like the Lamoureux twins, Kelli Stack and Rachel Ramsey. As Erika was introducing me to all the players I couldn't help but smile. I felt so welcomed by everyone, this was just the first of the numerous times I would see these women. In the following weeks a few of the girls from camp started working out at my dads facilities. What I call the original three to this day was made up of Karen Thatcher, Angela Ruggiero and Caitlin Cahow. 

In the spring of 2011 my family and I traveled to Zurich, Switzerland for the World Championships. Here I got a lot closer with members of the team. The entire team welcomed my brother and I with warm hearts. I could go on forever about the funny and amazing moments we had in Switzerland. The moment I remember the most is when Caitlin Cahow brought me on the ice after the team won 5-4 in over time vs. Canada. The atmosphere after the game was crazy. I don't think anybody that entire night was not smiling. After leaving the Worlds in Switzerland something just clicked when I was on the plane ride home. Sitting in my seat for the 8 hour flight I made the decision I wanted the play in the Olympics one day. As soon as I got home I started to workout 2 days a week. I wrote down a list of goals in my Ipad and I would read them at least one time per day.

My dad says that this process is called Ignition. It’s described in the book Talent Code. Ignition is when one event or one series of events ignites something in you. Meeting people who loved hockey like I do made me that much more motivated.  Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to actually train side by side with the greatest female hockey players in the world. It has been such an amazing opportunity to watch and train with the girls. When I train with the girls they make me feel as if I am one of there teammates. They cheer me on just as much as they do each other. When they cheer for me I feel so special, words can't describe the emotion. The opportunity has made me a better athlete, a better person and a better academic student. Caitlin Cahow, Angela Ruggiero, Karen Thatcher and many more have helped make me a better student. The three women have always tried to stress that your ability on the ice is less important than your ability in the classroom. You cannot achieve your goals in athletics if you don't have the grades to get you into a Division1 college. Angela and Caitlin used to buy me little USA presents whenever I had a good report card and Karen Thatcher would explain how to solve a math problem in between running 300 yard shuttles for conditioning. 

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved with the National Team for helping me become a better athlete and for this amazing opportunity. Thank you very much Regan Carey, Coach Stone, and the rest of the coaching staff for allowing me to be surrounded by my many idols. I also want to thank my dad for trusting me to be well behaved around these girls and to the girls themselves for sparking this new person inside of myself. Finally I want to thank Jaclyn Hawkins for the opportunity to write this story and to share my experience with everyone.

Samantha P. says:
16 October, 2012 at 09:50 AM
That is so cool!!!!!

Melanie Driscoll says:
07 December, 2012 at 20:32 PM
You make me so proud of you, Michaela. This article is awesome and so are you! <3

Kathy says:
15 December, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Thank you so much for sharing. Excellent post. :)

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