What were you thinking?

What were you thinking?

That’s the question I get asked all the time when people find out I moved from California. At times, I’ve asked the same question of myself.

“What am I doing here?”

But every time I ask that question, I remember.

In spite of the cold, I am here in Buffalo because it is the best place for me to become the person I want to be.

I’m here to become a hockey coach capable of using the sport I love to transform lives. I came to Canisius because it will help me become the person I need to be in order to do that.


It started with a hockey team

I first heard about Canisius College because of hockey. In 2013, Canisius won the Atlantic Hockey championship and made their first appearance in the NCAA tournament. They lost in the opening round to top-ranked Quinnipiac, but the name stuck with me.

That fall I started looking around at grad schools to bring me closer to my goal of coaching. The list started simple, I needed a school with Sports Administration, and with a hockey team I could work for. When Canisius showed up in initial searches, I put them on the list.

They weren’t at the top yet, but they were close.

Faith in action

I took a job last summer with FOCUS (the Fellowship of Catholic University Students), thinking time spent as a missionary working with college students and helping them through the challenges of daily life would prepare me for doing the same with high school or college hockey players.

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out. Fortunately, God had another plan. As my team leader said, I had a chance to show our students what it looks like to trust God.

I went back to the plan of grad school, and now Canisius had jumped to the top of my list.

They jumped because I understood how important my Catholic faith is to becoming the person I want to be. In researching Canisius (for the second time) I looked at their campus ministry program. In addition to daily mass at Christ the King Chapel here on campus, they have multiple retreats and service trips. Campus Ministry supports five different programs – Burrito Project, Meals on Wheels, Sandwiches & Spirituality, St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy and South Buffalo Community Table Soup Kitchen – just to feed the homeless and the home-bound.

Leadership training

One of the best things about being in the Sports Administration program is the dedication to developing leadership.

The first homework assignment in the “Moral and Ethical Issues in Sport” course is a two-page paper about your personal philosophy and how it applies to sport.

The goal of the paper, and of the course according to Dr. O’Rourke, is to help us reflect and think about who we want to be. How will we respond to the challenges of the sports world, whether we face them as coaches, administrators, public relations or marketing staff?

Another core course, which I hope to take this summer, is “Leadership in Sport.”

Put these two courses together, along with all the opportunities to work for one of the many college and professional teams in the area and the numerous service opportunities through campus ministry, and you have a great chance to discover who you can be.

So, why do I live in a place where I can’t feel my face? Because there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

Who do you want to be?