My stomach was turning and I felt sick. My dad said it was just nerves and that it would go away. We pulled into the small parking lot of the rink on that chilly winter evening and dad turned to me, “ready kiddo?” He asked, I gave back a quiet, “I guess so” and opened the truck door. He pulled my hockey bag out of the back of the truck and carried it inside for me while I carried my stick. When we walked into the dressing room, I was greeted by my super friendly future coaches who told me that I could change with the other girls in the next room over. A slight bit of relief flooded through my body. I knew a couple of the girls but there were only four of us. We chatted a bit while getting our equipment on and then heading out onto the ice. I thought the practice was going well, my nerves started to calm as I started getting into the habit of things. I was finally coming out of my shell to try something new until Parker skated up to me and a couple of the other girls. “Hockey is a boys sport and you guys should just quit now.” Kylie started laughing and told him to get lost but I got this huge knot in my stomach and started to feel like I didn’t belong here.
We finished the practice with only a couple glares from Parker and headed in. I got undressed quickly, threw all my equipment into my bag, and zipped it up. As I was walking out of our dressing room, Parker was sitting on the bench just outside of the door. I tried to turn the other way but he got up and jumped in front of me. “You play like a girl,” he said. “So? I am a girl” I said back to him. “Playing like a girl is a bad thing and it means you’re not good enough to play with us.” I could feel my face getting hot and my eyes start to water. I turned on my heel and quickly walked away from him.
My dad patted me on the shoulder as we walked out of the rink. “You did great out there today kid, I think you’ll have a lot of fun this year.”
I put my head down and quietly replied, “Thanks.”