I?m not quite sure how to start this, but here we go.
Hi. My name is Dallas Jackson, and I was born and raised in Boston, and I?m only here to tell you one simple thing: Hockey changed my life?.
And I whole-heartedly mean it. At the risk of sounding cliché, I?ll go as far to say hockey has had such a profound, positive impact on my life that I?m not quite sure where I would be without it.
I guess you?ll need some context.
Despite living in Boston, where hockey is readily available around the city, my start was later than most. I?m not necessarily hockey’s initial target demographic. I?m Black, and I’m a girl. Around the time I first started skating, I didn?t know what hockey ?was.? Yes, hockey was accessible, but it wasn?t very accessible for people like me.
Then my mom discovered SCORE Boston, a program dedicated to making hockey more accessible. When I look back on my life, there are so many moments that have come directly from hockey.
Yes, I?ve played a lot of games and scored a reasonable amount of points, but it?s not just about that. Hockey has impacted me in so many ways off the ice.
I?ve traveled the world because of hockey, and even was selected to represent Boston for a leadership and cultural development program in northern Ireland that was built around a tournament team.
Along with that, I?ve had the opportunity to represent my SCORE program at the Willie O?Ree weekend in Philadelphia on multiple occasions.
Those opportunities, along with many other moments, have helped me cultivate leadership and social skills over the years. In all honesty, I was a very anxious, insecure kid. But going to hockey events, and playing with and against other teams, has helped me learn to find my voice. I?ve been grateful to have coaches who consistently pushed me to grow as a player and person along the way. They always seemed to believe in me even when I didn?t believe in myself.
And now, this insecure kid has the honor of being a captain for her varsity high school team.
Hockey has shaped my past and present and now is actively shaping my future. I am a senior in high school finishing up the college application process. At this time, I have to make many decisions surrounding my future, and hockey has helped me discover my passion.
I love talking about sports in all capacities. I love analyzing plays, talking about stats, breaking down games — anything and everything. Hockey has helped me discover something I wish to pursue in the future. As of right now, I?m planning on majoring in journalism with a concentration in sports. My dream is to one day be a broadcaster or writer for ESPN or the NHL.
I owe so much to SCORE and all the wonderful people who made hockey possible for me. My family still is involved with the SCORE community. My mom is a vice president, I volunteer as a junior coach, my dad is the head of equipment management and my sister, now a freshman in her second varsity season with me on our high school team, still practices with them on weekends.
My family now is certifiable hockey fanatics, and SCORE gave us that opportunity.
I firmly believe that hockey is for everyone. People just need the opportunity to fall in love with it as I did. And programs like SCORE Boston are perfect places to start.
I guess all this is meant to say is: Playing hockey is so much more than skating. It?s so much more than scoring goals. Hockey is about being with friends you may never have gotten to meet before. Hockey is about gaining confidence. Hockey is about experiencing new aspects of life. Hockey, to me, is about growing into the best version of yourself.
Plus, you get to score goals and skate fast while you?re doing it.