The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind. Yesterday as I should have been packing, I spent nearly my entire day working on a geography project. Then last night, after 9 years wearing an Avalanche sweater, I played my last ever minor hockey game. I was kind of anticipating it, but it was quite an emotional night. We lost. To a team that we are far better than, and who we should always beat. Just somehow we never seem to perform to our potential at their home arena. It must be the smell of cow manure or something. In hind sight, I appreciate the fact that I lost my final game as an Avalanche. Although the outcome might not have been what I was hoping for, it was a memorable game to say the least. I found myself savouring every moment on the ice. I believe losing was a great reminder of the fact that it really doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but it’s all about having fun, the attitude you bring to the game, and what you take from it in return.
I got home around 11; still wasn’t packed. Still had a 500 word dystopian short story to write, and an essay on the role profanity plays in our society. Fittingly, I wrote my thesis on the role of profanity in hockey. It was only until after I had both of those assignments emailed to my teachers, that I could finish my packing. By the time I was pulling my covers over my exhausted body, it was 4:09. Then, there were two things preventing me from falling asleep...
1.) I was way too excited about leaving for Thailand in the morning. I had been looking forward to this trip since the day it was mentioned to me. However, up until that moment, our “Thailand trip” was always something in the distant future. But in that moment, lying in my bed, the trip finally became real.
2.) It’s hard to sleep when you have such a vast array of emotions running through your head. After my last game, all the 95’s presented us grade 12’s with a little piece of memorabilia to remember our final game together. As I got in the car to drive home, I checked my phone. A new tweet from @zeeharkins! It read, “Big S/O to @LisaOdland for playing her final game as an Avalanche! Huge factor to the team, luh ya lisgurl #gosavetheworld”. Then another one rolled in from @maleenakaila, “@LisaOdland ; love yaa lisgurl. Not gunna be the same without my other green mate #hulkline #linematesforlife #gosavetheworld!! <3 <3” And finally, a tweet from @ValerieeBurns, “@LisaOdland tonight was our last drive out to the edge of the earth for hockey and the first time we didn’t get lost #nouturns #soproud” And then there was Annagurl who’s BBM status read, “S/O to lisgurl, Last game with the avs <3” Sitting in the back of @ValerieeBurns car, reading all the incredible words of love and support from my teammates made me a little teary-eyed. I’m not much of a crier (over things like that), so I was surprised. And it wasn’t until I was actually lying in my bed, replaying the game over in my head, that I began crying. Tears of joy, tears of gratitude, tears of memories, tears of pride, tears of happiness. It was a bittersweet night for me. It is the end of an era. Thank you to everyone who has made my hockey career what it was. All the coaches, all the managers, all the referees, all the Zamboni drivers, all the association presidents, all the treasurers, all my teammates, all the parents who drove me to and from practices, all the parents who were loyal fans and provided endless amounts of encouragement. I feel more than grateful that I was given the opportunity to play hockey for 9 consecutive years of my childhood. Without a doubt, it has helped shape the person I am today.
So I’ve been sitting on this plane for 11 hours now. My legs are restless, my skin feels oily, my arms need a stretch, and more than anything I would like to breathe some fresh air. We still have another 3 hours before we touchdown in Hong Kong. Then from Hong Kong to Bankok is another 3—according to my father. I can maybe sleep for 20 minutes on an airplane before getting unbearable neck cramps and needing to readjust. On the plus side, I have been able to watch some great movies throughout the flight!