Mackenzie St. Onge – Dartmouth Hockey

“Hockey is a unique sport. You fly across a sheet of ice, try to put a black piece of rubber past a goalie bulked up in gear, balance on two thin blades, and all while another team is trying to hit you… It’s fast, it’s dynamic, it’s physical, and there is nothing else like it. My favorite part though? The demand it places on being a team. At most, a skater can last on the ice for 45-60 seconds a shift. You cannot win a game of hockey with one star player and you cannot win with one star line. You need a team with depth – one that can roll through four lines for three periods straight and trust each and every player to be great in their role. The grinders are just as important as the goal scorers. The penalty kill squad is just as important as the power play group. The game demands that in order to be successful no one can play like they’re too good for the team. To me, this applies to the game of hockey and it applies to life. In everything I’ve done outside the rink, I work to make sure I’m never “too good” for my role on the team.”

“If I could give my younger self advice as an athlete (and as a person), I’d say: Quit taking things so seriously… The worry, the stress, the anxiety, it doesn’t help anything. Oftentimes it ends up being about things you can’t control or that don’t matter in the big picture. A much better use of your time and energy would be to throw yourself into the things that truly and authentically make you happy. No matter what other people might think, live your life for YOU – it goes by way too quickly not to…”

“Leaving hockey and that chapter of my life behind was hard. Harder than I realized it’d be and harder than anyone could’ve warned me about. To be honest no one prepared me for it – that was the biggest shock. There was no ‘heads up’ or clue that I might start to question my identity, my self-worth, or my value outside of my sport. One day it was just done, and that was that… The rest I went about trying to navigate on my own, a stark contrast from the team environments I’d always been in throughout my career.”

“The more I tried to figure out life beyond sport, the harder it was to shake the thought: what if I’m not the only one feeling isolated and confused in retirement? Sure enough, I started to talk to my teammates and other athletes and they were asking the same questions! We were all acting like we had it figured out, but in reality, we had to admit that life beyond our sport was lonely and overwhelming. That’s when the idea for The Sideline Perspective hit me… Why not create a community where we could share our stories and work through these experiences together? We’ve supported each other as teammates for years, that shouldn’t end with our competitive careers.”

“Some of the biggest things I’ve learned since starting The Sideline Perspective is the value of curiosity and that finding a new passion really is possible. I wasn’t sure when I left sports what could possibly light me up the way competing did. I doubted that I’d ever enjoy sitting at a computer or putting large amounts of time into anything other than a physical activity… but here I am, passionately working to build a community and a cause that means something so much more than myself. As I push myself as an entrepreneur I am constantly being challenged to learn new skills and get creative with the way in which I approach growing The Sideline Perspective. This is where curiosity comes in: reframing a tough situation and asking ‘how can I look at this differently’ or ‘how can I grow from this?’ has helped me over countless hurdles. I truly believe the mindset of curiosity is one of the most valuable things we can bring to our athletic careers and beyond.”

“One of the pillars of The Sideline Perspective community is supporting each other as TotalTeammates: teammates not just in athletics but in life. It is both a declaration and a challenge to lift each other up and bring visibility to the things we can accomplish when we embrace the idea of facing life together. When we champion each other for who we are as people, the values we stand for, and the good of those next to us, we can use the platform of sports to change the world. Never underestimate our influence as athletes and always be intentional about how you use it!”

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