Kent Walker – 2016-2017 Essay

I was on a bike ride (2015 ACT Ride for AWRC) when I mentioned to others that I was suffering from some isolation issues and needed to reach out and get more social. Immediately, several other riders informed me about the Madison Gay Hockey Association. I had heard of them but I thought since I had never skated or played hockey, I wouldn’t be welcome. That wasn’t the case. I was invited to join. Not really invited, implored. lol

I joined. Yes, I had a learning curve but I was determined to do something different. I was given a mentor and we embarked on a journey that I can only describe as transformative. I was encouraged, cajoled and gently guided into a space that provided not only acceptance but also a healthy companionship. I was humbled.

Although, I was not as active this first year as I would have liked to be due to some personal health issues, no one disparaged me for that. They instead, rallied behind me and boosted me up and were supportive.

MGHA has given me purpose. It has let me know I do have value even when I doubt that in myself. Another bonus is that I was able to expand my own friendship circle to include members of the LGBTQ community to whom I was not previously exposed. I have a new love of others that I was lacking in the past.

I am a better person, I am more educated and I am more enriched now that I have been accepted as a member of the MGHA and I cannot put a value on that experience. Well, yes, I can. It is priceless. I still have much to learn. I have more skills to gain but this past year has exposed me to more love and acceptance than I have ever had in my previous years of life. No experience has enriched my being more and I hope that I can continue to improve, gain and learn from the people that have come into my life via MGHA to make my existence as beautiful as every person I have met.

I have a new family and it is lovely. (even though I fell down more than skated… I was patted on the back more than I ever was in my previous years of life.)