By Josh Frye
News Staff Writer
As a 2004 graduate of Escambia County High School, my hometown is very special to me. Upon graduation, I set off for college and the military. The military career, however, was cut short due to a car accident I was seriously injured in. After I had received rehabilitation for my injuries, I set my sights on college and continuing to play ice hockey. My love for history and the game of hockey proceeded to carry me for the next several years.
I found myself in the center of minor league hockey, something that doesn’t happen to a player from South Alabama who is too embarrassed to tell anyone what sport they are involved in for fear of laughter.
You see, I wasn’t the most popular in high school. I wasn’t a stand out athlete that played football, baseball or basketball. None of those sports caught my interest enough to play.
Hockey however did. Hockey is one of the most physical and physically demanding sports in existence. First, a player is required to be able to skate, and second, a player must be able to receive and deliver hits with a razor blade trapped to his feet at high speeds while controlling a stick.
Growing up, the sport caught my interest but I was too afraid to tell anyone of my love for the game.
My issue was confidence.
I loved hockey and history. That doesn’t necessarily make you immediately popular around this area with your peers. I was too afraid of what others may say or think of me. I submersed myself in my history studies and projects and played hockey the rest of the time.
As I got more and more ice time in college, I began meeting individuals who helped develop my confidence. I suddenly found myself surrounded by NHL players and Hall of Famers who were known all over the world.
Steve Schutt, former Montreal Canadian and Hall of Fame defenseman, made probably the most impact on me. Schutt is known for being one of the best defensemen to ever play in the NHL and had several Stanley Cup championships under his belt.
I often found myself on the same ice playing against him in league play and he would always offer up advice. The one thing that stood out to me was his lesson on confidence. You have to be confident in everything that you do. It doesn’t matter who is watching or judging you. To be the best, the small things have to be done right. If that is done, the big picture will be right and you will succeed in everything you do. Do not let someone else’s judgement determine your success.
Since that time, I found myself in front of crowds of thousands of people. I have stepped on minor league hockey ice, been in historical films and documentaries, been on radio and television, worked with several famous personalities and individuals, been a part of major projects that have gained worldwide exposure and recognition and have had the opportunity to be published in various publications across the world within the history field.
To the high school student who may be reading this column, never let anyone determine your future by their judgement. Confidence is something you must instill inside yourself. When you are told that something is impossible, smile and accomplish the impossible. You are the face that stares back to you in mirror.
Have confidence and be a role model. Make the impossible turn into the possible.
Do what you love and always do the small things right. If you perfect the small dreams, the bigger picture will be perfected.
Each time that you take the field or take on a task, do your best, give it your all and don’t worry about the eyes on you and the words that come out of mouths.
People will laugh, call you crazy or try to bend you to a breaking point. People laughed when they saw me going to my car with a hockey bag and stick in my hand. Then when they showed up at the rink for a game, I was the one laughing as they found a new favorite sport.
The world is yours for the taking.
You just have to do the right things in the right way and pave the way.