Maggie Augustin – 2017-2018 Essay

There are two significant periods in my life; before the MGHA and after the MGHA. You might be thinking that I’m over exaggerating a tad, but I assure you that I am not! In truth, my seasonal depression winter hibernation world was flipped upside down 2 years ago when my lovely partner in life and crime, Ames Barker (you might have heard of them), introduced me to hockey and the Madison Gay Hockey Association.

At 30, I did not anticipate learning an entirely new sport. I had some confidence in my ability to stay upright on skates thanks to years of rollerblading, but I had no idea what the fundamentals of hockey were and I, of course, was anxiety- filled by the idea of learning all the hockey skills all at once. Oh, my goodness, with my gear on, I could barely function much less use a stick to poke a puck around on ICE! But then, I attended my first meeting and my anxiety levels dropped significantly. Everyone was incredibly friendly and inclusive. For the first time, I knew what it felt like to play on a league where all folx were welcome; no matter where they fell on the gender or sexuality spectrums, if they had 20 years of hockey experience or never put on a pair of skates. In that first meeting, they made it clear what the MGHA was about and how important it is to honor pronouns and shed assumptions. Let me be clear, I have been a part of several organizations in my life, athletics included, and I have never met an organization so open and willing to help out its new players and support everyone from various backgrounds.

Finally, I had something to look forward to on Sundays during the winter! I knew a handful of people when I joined the league and now I can say that I am incredibly blessed to add dozens more to the list. I had the privilege of not only being a mentor to a wonderful hockey new-comer this past season, but I also got to try my hand at being a co-captain at the 2018 MGHA Classics. I have to admit, I was incredibly shocked that I was even asked to fill either one of these roles. I have rarely been comfortable in leadership roles and I usually fill the spot of “supportive teammate.” However, the confidence that the Board Members instilled in me by asking me to mentor and lead has empowered me to apply for membership and to get more involved in the league; ready, happy, and willing to give back all that they have given to me!

I am so excited to have found my niche and core group of amazing friends and chosen family. I don’t know what I would do without the support of all of you. At every opportunity, I try to spread the word about the MGHA and incorporate the core values and inclusivity in my other social and work endeavors. Overall, I have grown as a person and I continue to learn how to improve my hockey skills, build up my self-esteem and overall worth by giving back to the league. I am looking forward to what the next adventure with the MGHA might be!