I would like to share my experience while playing for Lambton Jr. Sting AAA Major Midget team. I played one year for the Major Midget team for the 06-07 season. I will never forget that year, as it was one of the best experiences I have had playing hockey and one of the worst.
I had grown up playing hockey all my life, but being from a family of 11 children, my parents could not afford for me to play hockey. So, the first time I played organized hockey was in grade 11. I tried out and made the Petrolia Oilers Tri-county midget house league team. What an amazing year of hockey! We lost only six games all year, and it was an awesome team to be a part of for my very first year of hockey. We all got along really well. Well enough that my team mates knew I was religious, believing in the Jesus of the Bible and attending church on Sundays. I was openly able to tell some players that I believe, and still believe, that Jesus Christ was my Savior and that the only way to get to Heaven was believing in Him and what He did on the cross: taking the punishment for our sin, dying on the cross, and rising from the dead so that anyone who believes in Jesus, will have eternal life. That season ended, and I had no issues with being who I was as a Christian and no one made fun of me for it.
After that season I knew I wanted to play at a higher level. I was able to play for the AAA Major Midget team in the Golden Blade Tournament. I still remember the first game. It was against the Barrie Colts, and the first thing that I did in that game was rock one of their defense-men I also scored two goals that game as we won easily 7-2. After that game, I was signed onto the team, and was officially a member of the AAA Major midget team. I went from playing the lowest level to the highest level hockey in one year. Do I believe I did on my own? I did put a lot of work into my game, but ultimately it was because of God that I had the talent in the firstplace. It is never heard of a kid who starts playing organized hockey in his 2nd last year of playing Midget, and only 2nd year playing to make a AAA team.
I was playing really well for the first part of the year. I was scoring and hitting and having fun. But all of a sudden team mates found out I was home schooled Then, they found out that I was a “Christian” and went to church on Sunday. That’s when my season started to go downhill. Every time I came to the rink I was made fun of explicitly because of something that I believed in. I mean every time I came to a rink it was always brought up. I even had to speak to some players directly to tell them to stop talking about it. That did little, to nothing. I remember it got really bad before a game, that during the game I punched a guy in the head so that I could sit in the penalty box. My play worsened, to the point that I was not scoring anymore, I was scared to hit, and I was on the third line.
After the season was done, I didn’t touch my hockey equipment or anything to do with hockey for about four months. I believe that my play and the way I got worse over the season were directly related to my so called team mates, destroying the religion that I held to. Because of something unrelated to hockey I was personally attacked verbally every time I went into the dressing room.
The reason I write is to help people realize that stuff like this goes on in dressing rooms all the time. I hope that my story will bring some more attention to the fact that kids are getting bullied on teams for more than how they look or how they might play the game. That year for me personally almost destroyed my love for the game that I grew up playing whenever I could.
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted
2 Timothy 3:12-13
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ