On Hockey and Being a Girl

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

It was an ordinary game of floor hockey. My palms were soaked, my skin unbearably itchy. The droplets of sweat were rolling down my back. But I couldn’t pay any attention to that. The offensive player was approaching me with the puck, trying to find a way around. I clutched the hockey stick, took a deep breath, and lunged for it. In two seconds I had tripped, and hit the floor. My failure was mortifying. And yet, it was a successful failure, for after my angry swatting at the puck and inevitable downfall, the opposing player got caught in my flailing limbs and also fell. My teammates were delighted. They marveled that a girl could take down the third-best male player in our gym class, and the hoots and cheers of the boys were infectious. I had been unnecessarily aggressive, and it had paid off. I beamed to myself. I was worthy! Later, as the triumph waned and I came back down to earth, I realized what a fool I had been. I finally saw that I had become someone who needed to prove herself, just so she could be accepted by the boys.

I had betrayed myself. I was utterly defeated.

As I experienced this keen sense of disappointment, I started to self-analyze. For most of my life prior to this experience, I had been a very...

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