Alex DeYoung is a goaltender representing the United States with the Team USA Junior Men's Inline Hockey Team in the 2012 Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS) World Championships in Bucaramanga, Colombia from June 30 to July 14. Alex is a high school student in Northern Virginia, and the only member of the 16-player team from Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area. Over the next few weeks, he will be writing about the tournament from his perspective.
I'm about to play in my first ever world championship game one hour from now. I'm really nervous right now. I was just thinking back to how I got to this point.
I got into an argument with my mom when I was eight and was really mad, so I went to my garage and started taking slapshots with my hockey stick to relieve stress. Later that week, my parents signed me up for a little roller hockey league at Wakefield RECenter. In my first game, I scored four goals and scored the game-winning goal in a shoot-out.
After a year in that league, Ben Ellison invited me to try out for his team called the Mad Dogs at a rink called The Box in Chantilly, Virginia. I didn't make the team, so I played house hockey. In house, I ripped a tendon from my knee, and couldn't skate as fast, so I decided to try goalie. The first time I ever played goalie was at a State Wars tryout, and I made the team. That year we got mercied almost every game in the A division. I worked hard and made the Mad Dogs as a goalie the next year, and won MVG and second place for the AA division at State Wars the next year.
A few years and gold medals from national championships later, I was the youngest player invited to the AIHL Potomac Mavericks Pro Team tryout camp. I made the pro team, and was later nominated as the best goalie in the AIHL's Colonial Division. Last March, The Box closed down.
If I had never gotten into an argument with my mom that one night, or if Ben Ellison had never bothered to talk to me that one time, I wouldn't be here representing my country right now. But I did get into an argument with my mom that night, and Ben Ellison did invite me to try out for his team, and I did work hard to be here on this bus in Colombia, so I'm going to go out on the rink tonight and prove that I belong here.