Living with strangers is, well, strange
Going to a new high school isn’t easy
Daily practices, workouts, long travel times for games are grueling
Playing against 21 yr olds when you are 17 is intimidating
I remember being so confused at the beginning of the yr
I remember thinking to myself, “If this is part of the process, just shut
Another thought that often came to mind is why
Why are my teammates demeaning the youngest players on the team?
Do they think this will create team unity?
What did we do?
You can only whip a horse so much before it quits on you, & that’s...
If you are stuffed inside the bus washroom with 6-7 other rookies, while veterans hurl their spit from chewing tobacco through a vent in the door at you, 45 mins can feel like an eternity.
2 of us had had enough...
Needless to say we never got the “hot box” treatment again
I can go on & speak about the other abuses many of us had to endure that year, but that will be in the book, along with names of those responsible
Since our coaches almost....
So I sent a letter to the Commissioner of the league, David Branch, explaining exactly what 12 of us had to endure on a daily basis
I am speaking honestly...
The guys beating me on a daily basis & degrading me, were also the ones I hung out with at night at the movies
The abuse didn’t stop
It was constant
My abusers would say things like..
I can remember thinking at that exact moment...
‘Why would I ever want to make someone feel this way, let alone my teammate?’....
It was my draft year, & I was singularly focused on my goal of making something of myself
Nothing was going to get in my way
No opponent or bully
Everything happens for a reason
We finished in 1st place in the #OHL...
Remember what I said about the horse?
You guessed it
All the rookies had quit on the veterans
A conscious decision
I can remember the talk the over-ager gave, a desperate plea after the 1st..
He was crying
It didn’t matter
Many of us were broken now
Damaged not only from the game, but from the constant bullying & physical & mental abuse
Emotional lacerations that aren’t easy to stitch up
Don’t discredit times of suffering
Through pain, both emotional & physical, I have discovered who I am
If u r experiencing bullying/abuse of any kind & u don’t know what to do, confide in someone you trust for advice