The game ended nine to three in a losing effort against Noble and Greenough School. The feelings in the locker room differed from player to player; ashamed, angry, confused, but mostly scared of the things to come during our next practice. We walked into the gloomy rink the following day, and it was just that, depressing. Not one light in the whole rink was on, except for the scoreboard that said fifty four minutes and the score, nine to three. Confusion and fear sprung over the team as the darkness affirmed the misery of a practice that was well deserved.
Sweat poured down my face and my legs were trembling as if they are going to collapse from under me. Gazing up at the scoreboard seeing thirty minutes remaining was heart breaking. Not knowing if I would make it until the end of practice, I continued skating. Each whistle that declared another long and miserable sprint took its toll on me, as well as the other twenty players that were engaged in this horrific practice. We understood why we were doing this, but we all believed that it was a little bit over the top and that much skating was ridiculous. But who can argue with the coach? We all kept our mouth shut and skated until the last second passed. Ill never forget our last sprint, it felt as if it was our first. Everybody was giving a hundred and ten percent and on our last set of strides down the ice the team roared in victory as if we just won the biggest game of the year. The hardest practice that most of us had ever faced was over with, and we went into the locker room, furious at Coach Potter, for the pain he just put our whole team through.
The next game was against a young opponent in Thayer Academy. Not knowing if our legs could endure anymore pain, we got on the ice as if it were any other game after any other practice. However, the team looked like a new one in comparison to the game before. Bodies were being thrown, crisp passes were being made tape to tape and we were capitalizing on our scoring chances that we worked hard to get. The final score of the game was six to two and the atmosphere in the locker room was much happier and much more proud then it was all year. We finally understood why we had to suffer through the “hell practice.”
“Nobody’s a natural. You work hard to get good and then work to get better. It’s hard to stay on top.” An inspirational quote by NHL veteran Paul Coffey explains what I believe in. I believe now, after that dreadful practice, that hard work really does pay off. For every stride that we took down the ice, we had a little more motivation to go out the next game and give the effort that was necessary to succeed.
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