Senior Speeches: Thomas Lalonde

April 11, 2018


Overcoming obstacles is much easier when you have a family, friends, and teammates you can trust.

Each year, seniors at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School deliver a speech to their peers on a topic of their choosing in the Newhall Auditorium. Often equal parts clever and moving, emotional and personal, each speech offers a glimpse into the lives, experiences, struggles, and triumphs of SSM seniors.

Throughout the 2017-18 school year, we will share these speeches with the SSM community and hope that you enjoy the humor, wisdom, and powerful reflections conveyed by our senior students.

 

Thomas Lalonde

 

During my time here, I learned that the most important part of hockey is being part of a team.

My first three years at this school, I strongly believed that the hockey world was “every man for himself.” This might be because I’m a goaltender and it’s a very individually based position. But it was more because I hit a lot of obstacles. I didn’t always make the teams I wanted to make, I got injured a lot, and when I was healthy, I wasn’t always playing as well as I knew I could. I felt like I was on my own out here in Faribault.

But it all changed for me this year. This season on the Prep Team, one hockey game in particular stands out. It was last October, when I was having problems with school, hockey, and my health. I was battling a leg injury from game to game.

In this game, I remember we were down 3-1 and I was having a hard time making saves. By the second period, my leg started to hurt, and I knew things would only get worse. When I allowed a fourth goal, I was on the verge of calling it a day. But after the goal, five teammates skated up to me to pat me in the shoulder. I had my head down because I was pouting, but I heard someone say, “We’re still going to win this game. We got your back. Don’t worry Timmy”.  Just as I started having negative thoughts, my teammates picked me up and went on the attack. We won the game 5-4 because my team never quit.

Since that day, my whole perspective on hockey has changed. I started paying more attention to my teammates, and I realized how much they meant to me. I started appreciating spending time with them on and off the ice. I’ve always wanted to give back to them, and the best way to do this is by helping them win hockey games. A win always puts everyone in a good mood. We can sit down in the locker room, loosen up, listen to some music, and enjoy each other’s company. It’s my favorite part of hockey: enjoying a win with all my closest friends.

But as much I love hockey, it can be real struggle sometimes. This year, I’ve had three, four, maybe five lower body injuries. I lost count. Despite all I’ve been through in the last four years, somehow I’m still standing. Today, I’m healthier, stronger, and happier than I’ve ever been my entire life. And that’s all thanks to my team. When I needed them most, they were there for me. Time after time, when I hit obstacles that seemed insurmountable, my team always picks me up and we keep going together. The lesson I’ve learned is that life is too hard to go through on your own. I can’t have the mindset that it’s every man for himself. Overcoming obstacles is much easier when you have a family, friends, and teammates you can trust. And I’m very lucky that I can rely on all three of those whenever I need to. I learned that “every man for himself” is a selfish mindset, but back then, I didn’t really appreciate what being part of a team meant.

Now I have seventeen teammates and two coaches to whom I still owe an unpayable debt for all they’ve done for me. All I can say is, thank you guys for never giving up on any challenge thrown our way, but more importantly, never giving up on me. Life is good for me nowadays, and it’s all thanks to you guys. I love each and every one of you.

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