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AthleticHub Blog

Gabrielle Davidson is a freshman at McGill University and plays for the Martlet Hockey Team.  Previously, she played and went to school at Dawson College.  She was asked to speak at the recent CEGEP All-Star Hockey Game held at McGill University.  It is great advice for a top student-athlete. To read more of Gabrielle's blog posts please visit her Website

I want to share with you a speech I wrote for the 2013 Collegiate All-Star Game, which I presented this past weekend. Having played in the CEGEP league for two years and now a freshman at McGill University, I was very honoured to be the guest speaker. It was a great opportunity for me to share my experiences about school and hockey.

ABOUT ME

J’ai étudié au Collège Dawson où j’ai eu la chance de jouer avec les Blues pendant deux années. Je viens d’entamer un autre chapitre de ma carrière professionnelle et sportive ici à McGill. Retournons un peu dans le passé. J’ai commencé à jouer au hockey à l’âge de neuf ans accompagné par mon frère jumeau Alexandre. Nous étions inséparable – nous devions tout faire ensemble puisque nous étions une équipe. Alors le hockey était en quelque sorte un sport parfait pour nous. Quelques années plus tard, j’ai eu la chance de faire mes débuts avec l’équipe du Québec suivit par l’équipe canadienne des moins de 18 ans. Pendant les dix dernières années, j’ai accompli beaucoup d’exploits, mais il y en a trois qui se distinguent des autres. Le premier est lorsque que j’ai eu la chance de porter le chandail du Canada, le deuxième est un honneur qui me tient a cœur énormément. Le gymnase de mon école primaire a été nommé en mon nom pour mon dévouement et mon implication dans mes études et dans le sport. Finalement, le plus significatif de tous, est l’opportunité d’étudier à une université prestigieuse tout en pratiquant un sport que j’aime. L’éducation et le sport ont toujours été très importants pour moi alors je ne pourrais demander mieux.

HOCKEY

Le sport, précisément, le hockey, est très exigent et entraine énormément de défis qui, une fois atteints, se transforment en souvenirs inoubliables et en expériences à couper le souffle. Quand je pense aux nombreux moments de gloire, de fierté et de bonheur que j’ai vécu au cours des dernières années, je ne peux m’empêcher de me demander s’ils ne sont que des rêves puisqu’auparavant ses moments me semblaient inatteignables. Les athlètes disent et pensent souvent que rien n’est impossible. C’est peut-être l’un des clichés les plus utilisés dans le monde du sport, mais c’est très vrai. Même si un rêve s’avère impossible, il sera toujours réalisable si vous y croyez et si vous êtes confiants en vous même et en vos habiletés physiques et mentales. Rien ne vous empêchera d’atteindre vos rêves…il s’agit simplement de croire et de vouloir.

Ceci-dit, je ne perçois pas la nécessité de vous parler longtemps de mes pensés reliées directement au hockey puisqu'après tout, vous êtes parmi les meilleures joueuses de la ligue collégiale et je crois que vous avez tous le talent, l’éthique de travail et la motivation essentielle pour accomplir vos rêves. Je vous encourage à continuer de poursuivre vos objectifs car, malgré les nombreux défis, plusieurs opportunités se créeront et vous mèneront vers un avenir rempli de succès.

EDUCATION

When we think of school we tend to look at it from a negative perspective. I’m sure no one in this room enjoys writing long essays and studying for exams. I think most of us would rather play hockey all day than sit in a classroom. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality of being female hockey players. For instance, education is crucial, as, unlike men’s hockey, we do not get paid to play. I believe education is essential to having a financially stable future, but it can also positively affect your life both as a student and athlete. There is so much more to school than exams and essays. First and foremost, you meet new people who share common interests and who are all motivated to be successful, and at the same time, who want to have fun. Also, University marks the beginning of adulthood where you become much more independent and responsible.

BEING A STUDENT-ATHLETE

That being said, individuals who combine education and sport are known as student-athletes or etudiants-athletes. Being a student-athlete is never easy, especially when studying and playing on a varsity team. Most you are all very fortunate to be given the opportunity to study and at the same time, play the sport you love. Though, with such opportunity come many challenges. Those challenges are not easy, but with great determination and discipline, they are achievable. Finally, the best thing about such challenges is that they come with unforgettable memories and experiences, and lifelong friendships.

This brings me to my final and most important message I want to share with you. In my opinion, you are at the point in both your athletic and professional career where you must make very important decisions about your future. After CEGEP is a new chapter called university, and after university, is the biggest chapter of all: REAL LIFE.

During the holidays, I was fortunate to go watch a Cirque du Soleil show presented at the Bell Center. It was only my second time seeing the Cirque du Soleil in action, but just like my first time, I was amazed to see the incredible talent, strength, and beauty portrayed by the performers, or in my opinion, portrayed by athletes. For instance, some performers climbed on 7m steel poles, leaping from pole to pole and soaring through the air with breathtaking agility, power, and speed, all at the same time. Others used a Russian swing to catapult themselves up to 12m in the air where they executed amazing jumps before landing either on their feet, on the shoulders of their partners or atop a human pyramid. These are two examples of the many acts in the show. I chose to use these examples as they clearly demonstrate athletic qualities, which we can all relate too, but more importantly, they underline the importance of education and of the decisions that will affect the next four years of your life. You may wonder what jumping acrobats have to do with education. As I said earlier, after CEGEP is university. It’s simple to say but not easy to do. Choosing the right University can be quite the challenge, not from the hockey standpoint, but rather, from the educational perspective. In other words, I believe education should be your main priority in the decision making process because in 4 or 5 years, hockey will slowly come to an end, if not end. Looking back at my examples, there is one similarity between the acts and us that explains the essence of my message. That is, the performers leaping from pole to pole and those jumping in the air and landing on top of a human pyramid all need bases of support, just like we do. For them, their bases of support are the steel poles and the performer standing on the bottom of the pyramid supporting the others on top of him. If a performer falls from a pole or if he makes a sudden movement, causing the pyramid to tumble, the entire act is practically ruined. In the same way, the degree you will have after 4 years is your base, which in turn, will create many opportunities such as enabling you to find a stable job as well as allowing for healthier lifestyle choices. I am emphasizing the importance of education because you need it, as unfortunately, we, female hockey players cannot earn money playing hockey. Finally, when decision time comes, think about you’re future and what you might want it to be, ask yourself if the school is right for you from both an academic and athletic point of view, and lastly, ask yourself “will I be prepared to enter the real world in 4 years?” and “will I be happy?”

I hope you have enjoyed reading and I hope it has made you realize the importance of getting a good education.


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