We’re the two time defending Paralympic gold medalists. We’ve placed first in two of the past three world championships with a second-place finish in the last rendition of the tournament. All these facts are great, but they really mean nothing for this year’s team and this year’s tournament. Being a college student at Lindenwood University, I am currently taking a managerial accounting course and we have been dealing with the concept of sunk costs – a cost that has already been incurred; one that cannot be changed and therefore must be ignored in future decision making. I feel that as a team we need to embrace this concept and ignore what has happened in the past to fully focus on the future.
This year we have a new team, a young team. We have six “rookies” on the team. There are seven players that have never competed in a world championship. So far this has not been an issue. We’ve won every game we have played this season so far and are hoping to keep that trend true throughout worlds here in Buffalo, N.Y.
The U.S. has hosted the tournament twice before this: once in Salt Lake City and once in Marlborough, Massachusetts. No players are still on the team from the Salt Lake championships and only two, Steve Cash and Adam Page, remain from the Massachusetts team from 2008. We all are immensely proud of being able to represent our country at the highest level of sled hockey and are all really looking forward to defending our home soil in Buffalo.
Some would say it is added pressure, but I prefer to think of it as added motivation to perform our best, just as we have tried all season. There is pride on the line, not just for us, but to perform for our friends, families and other spectators who will be attending the tournament and cheering us on watching from the stands, online or television. Since the Sochi Paralympics, we have received tremendous support from individuals that saw sled hockey for the first time on TV as well as those who have been fans long before that. It has truly been inspiring to hear about people we have no real connection to getting behind our team and throw their support our way.
Our captain, Josh Sweeney, had “THINK GOLD” bracelets made to keep our minds focused on our ultimate goal for the year. I know we will give it our all to achieve that goal not only for every other guy in the locker room and our staff, but also for our country as thanks for the tremendous support that has been given to us. We really do appreciate the support and hope that you are able to follow along and even watch our games! This is sure to be the best and most competitive world championship yet!
Now, in case you’ve been reading along and wondering who is going to guide you on this blogging journey during the IPC World Championships out of Buffalo, let me introduce myself. My name is Josh Pauls and I am currently an assistant captain on the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team. This is my sixth year on the team and this will be my first world championship on home soil and fourth overall. I am also a two-time Paralympic gold medalist with those appearances coming in 2010 and 2014. I am a very superstitious person and routinely face a Mr. Potatohead figure at the opposing locker room, which has earned me the nickname “Spudsy.” Along the way in this blog I will do my best to keep the mood light as I do with life and hopefully throw some jokes in along the way. I know it will be very fun to blog our ride during worlds and I hope you enjoy reading along just as much.
Blog with you soon,