Humble Hockey Beginnings

Dec. 11, 2012, 10:32 a.m. (ET)

Dear Prospective Futures Athletes,

The holiday season is fast upon us, and though I’m no Ebenezer Scrooge, the ghost of hockey past has come for a stroll down memory lane.  So please lace up your turfs and join me in a short wander down the road of memory, dreams and humble hockey beginnings.

My name is Rachel Dawson. I love field hockey. I’ve played in two Olympics, won an undefeated National Championship at the University of North Carolina, and filled up my passport playing hockey.

The heart of my hockey past beats back home in New Jersey with humble beginnings in USA Field Hockey’s Futures program where I learned not only how to play the game, but how to love, explore, and share it, too.

I remember the first time I heard about Futures. Natalie, my oldest sister and childhood idol came home from her freshman year of high school and said, “Mom, I want to do Futures.” My mom, who knew little about the Futures program, saw the determination in Nat’s eyes, nodded, signed the papers, and with that paved the future for the Dawson girls. Cue the triumphant holiday music.  All six of us went to college for hockey; four earned CAPS on the National Team.

All of us participated in Futures.

From 1998 – 2003, Futures gave me the opportunity to explore hockey in new and challenging ways. It exposed me to different people and new perspectives. It taught me to learn and love the game and helped me forge my own relationship with it.

As my love, ambition and talent grew, the Futures program grew with me; it provided a pipeline of opportunity to accommodate my aspirations. I made youth National teams, got recruited by my dream school, the University of North Carolina, and eventually earned a spot on the USA National Women’s Field Hockey team.

When I look back, I am amazed at all the incredible experiences hockey has given me. When I started long, long ago, I had no idea where my path would lead. Back then, I knew I wanted to play; I wanted to explore the game and myself. I wanted to learn and grow. Thankfully, Futures gave me the opportunity to do all of those things. 

Now, as you consider whether Futures is the right program for you, the best advice I can give you is this.

When opportunity knocks, answer and embrace it. I did.  Will you?

Wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons.

Rachel Dawson #8

PS: Once you enroll, you can join me, and my sponsor Harrow Sports, to show the world that you’re a Futures star with the official Futures Gear. And don’t forget to put the new RD8 stick (yes, my very own hockey stick) on your Holiday Wish List.