Today reporters from Fox Sports Net interviewed me on my involvement with the Dinomights. I was nervous and they had a gigantic camera RIGHT in my face. I ended up stumbling a lot over my words, and basically giving a horrible interview. In an attempt to redeem myself, I decided to answer the questions they asked me on my blog, and pretend that I responded the same way in real life :)
Dinomights is an inner-city hockey organization that focuses on improving the Physical, Academic, Social, and Spitirual lives of it's players (P.A.S.S.). It is made up of predominantly African American, Asian, and Hispanic kids, so it is perfect for our transracial family. I remember being extremely offended in 6th grade when a boy in my class insisted that "black kids don't play hockey". I brought in my team picture and triumphantly told him something along the lines of "I told you so".
The Dinomights definitely touched my life in each of the areas they focus on. The physical aspect is fairly obvious. Hockey kept me in good shape and challenged me physically. It is a demanding sport, and since I was usually playing on a coed team, I had to work hard to keep up with the boys (I never did get the hang of checking though).
As for the academic aspect, I remember feeling motivated to keep my grades up so that I could earn a pair of Mission roller blades. Coaches act as advocates for players in school when needed, and expect to stay updated on grades. Dinomights also provides after-school tutoring once a week for the players. I wanted to find a way to give back to the program, so I tutor a first grader every Tuesday. It's really fun, and I love being involved again.
The social aspect of Dinomights is amazing. You feel such a sense of community between coaches, players, volunteers, and alumni. You learn social skills such as respect, flexibility, and teamwork through your interaction with others. Many of my best friends are former Dinomights, and there is definitely a strong bond between teammates.
The Spiritual focus of Dinomights is what impacted my life the most. It was powerful to have so many examples of what it means to really follow Christ. Even when they weren't saying anything, coaches and volunteers were teaching me. When they picked me up before 6:00AM for Wednesday morning practice they modeled selflessness. When they tied the skates of everyone in a packed locker room they modeled service. When they took us out to eat after a game they modeled generosity. When they invited us to their house for a team sleep-over or Bible Study they modeled hospitality. In all that they did they modeled the unconditional love of Christ.
When I was in 8th grade my oldest brother said "Enjoy it while it lasts--the Dinomight years are the best of your life". Being a part of Dinomights gave me so many opportunities that I might not have otherwise had. I have been to numerous NHL hockey games, attended a life-changing summer camp in Missouri, been on a MN WILD commercial (ok, just for a second), and most importantly, built relationships with many amazing people. I am so grateful for the role Dinomights played in shaping my character and enriching my life.
There, that's what I wanted to say ;)
(Luckily, they interviewed lots of people so mine won't likely get much air time, if any at all)
Feel free to visit the Dinomights website (I promise I'm not just saying that because I'm on the slideshow on the home page!) www.dinomights.com