Have you ever wondered exactly how and when a dream begins?
At what moment, do we say: I want to be a doctor, a writer, or a hockey player, and really, truly believe in our heart of hearts, that is indeed who we will become?
And who believes with a deep rooted faith that is lost to many? Kids, that’s who.
Kaitlyn Melitta Young started playing hockey when she was five years old.
Now from the get-go, when she was on the ice, she gave it her all. She followed instructions carefully, always trying every move suggested, by the various coaches and parents who found their way on to the ice. But, if she was to be truthful, as most children tend to be, when she was away from the rink, her heart did not dwell on when she would return. And, if she was to open up, say to her Mom, as she normally did when unsure, she’d like to whisper her secret and tell her that maybe, just maybe, she laced up her skates every weekend, mainly to please her Dad.
Don’t get me wrong, Kaitlyn had been watching hockey since she was born—truly!—and she did enjoy the sport. Best of all, she loved teasing her Dad, by loudly cheering for the Tampa Bay Lightning’s instead of his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs; however the fact was, she didn’t dream about playing hockey.
Kaitlyn knew, as only the very young know, that who you will become, begins to take shape in your dreams. Problem was, no matter how hard she wished for it, there were no hockey players emerging from the clouds of her sleep.
The winter of 2016, when Kaitlyn was the ripe old age of six, everything began to change.
First off, she joined the all girls hockey team, The Clarington Flames in her hometown of Bowmanville, Ontario. She started watching the older girls on her new team intently, she started watching and learning. Kaitlyn began to look forward to the early practices and games, and suddenly, it was she who was telling her parents to hurry up, on those cold mornings when the stars hung clean and fresh in the sky.
And most importantly, her Dad took her one day, on an outing to Toronto, to watch her first game of the Canadian Women’s Hockey league (CWHL), featuring the Toronto Furies against the Boston Blades.
The Blades, being the visitors, had next to no one sitting on their side of the bleachers. Kaitlyn immediately decided to sit herself right there, amongst the empty seats, for she wanted to be their Number One fan for the day. Very soon, she caught a few waves and smiles from the young women on the team. As they warmed up, the goalie, Genevieve Lacasse, tossed one of their pucks over the glass to Kaitlyn.
Not long into the game, she positioned herself near the stairs, so she could run down the
steps and high five the Blades as they came off and on the ice.
After the game, the coach invited Kaitlyn to join them in their change room. As they sat together, they talked to her about their love of hockey; they spoke as if they’d known her
forever, as if she was one of the team. While they chatted, her puck, the one from Genevieve, was passed around, busily gathering all the signatures from each of the players.
That night, after waiting for so very long, Kaitlyn spotted her new friends skating with her amongst the curtains of her dreams.
And so it begins.
Kaitlyn began corresponding, through her Dad’s twitter account, with the Boston Blades. Her parent’s purchased a jersey with Sadie St Germain’s name and number on it, which was proudly displayed on the wall of her bedroom, near the treasured puck. After sending out pictures on Twitter, she was thrilled when Sadie replied with a picture of her own, showing her newly altered Number 5 jersey, with Kaitlyn’s name now replacing Sadie’s.
Her intensity continued, as she watched every minute she could, as Tara Watchorn, the Captain of the Boston Blades, played for Team Canada, during the Women’s World Championship.
Kaitlyn’s admiration for the team has not faltered, and she continues to keep in touch with The Blades via Twitter. It’s her account now really, this she was forced to explain patiently to her Dad. Her Blades, her friends.
Now, when she plays mini hockey stick in the basement of her home, she pretends to be first Sadie, then Genevieve, then Tara. She’s not playing alone any longer; she’s playing with her mentor team.
Dreams begin with the help of others. Mentors, and role models alike, plant the seeds of belief, and encourage the aspirations of the young, with regular care and attention, the growth is amazing! And so too are these women from the Boston Blades, who took the time out of their busy schedules to interact with my granddaughter, Kaitlyn.
They, I do believe, are the catalyst for her dreams to be.
It’s wonderful to see what can happen, when someone takes the time to show you the way. The after-effects will stretch far and wide, and I believe in the future, Kaitlyn will pay it forward.