Gabriel Loredo – 2014-2015 Essay

Oh boy, where to begin. Never before has a split second decision in the middle of the night turn out so well for me before. I had an appointment with my therapist earlier that day and she had suggested that I sign up for gay hockey for at least a month. I had been scrolling through the website for hours before I decided to send a message to the league on Facebook. I was very nervous to say the least. I have never been the most athletic or the one to fit in, I left that to my older brother.

Anyways, I will never forget the new member meeting. I had been emailing my mentor and I had just met her that day. As I sat on the grass outside of the Hartmeyer with the league, we talked about all of the different gender identities and how to be inclusive and respectful. I knew I had found the right group. I had just recently come out and started hormones earlier that year. I had lost so much and I was angry. I went into the league as an angry and scared boy.

As the season went on, I started becoming stressed. My work life, home life, and family life were bringing me down as the sun started not shining as much. I have always felt alone and I thought I still was. I had tried something drastic that failed. When I returned to the league, I was met with overwhelming hugs and love. I realized that I had a family.

I still had my moments of doubt. I was a slow skater, I couldn’t handle a puck to save my life, and I never realized that my shift lasted longer than I was supposed to. Despite all that, I never felt as free as when I was on the ice. The cold air in my lungs, my feet hurting in my skates, and my helmet squeezing my glasses into the sides of my head all seem like they should feel unpleasant. But soon those feelings became feelings of life. I was alive on the ice.

I went into the league as a scared, angry boy with no sense of community and I came out as a whole different guy. Do I still have doubts and fears? Yes. But I don’t feel alone anymore because I know that I am not. Through encouragement on and off the ice, I made amazing friendships and realized how much I can accomplish. I just want to give all of my thanks to the MGHA for the patience and kindness that they have given me.