A few weeks ago, my buddy Jared Aulin invited me to join a group he had started on Facebook. I clicked the link, and became wrapped up in a story so powerful that I couldn’t resist wanting to share it with the world. He formed the group to support his friend, Tommy Frew, in pursuit of his dreams; mainly a dream to make an epic comeback to the sport he loves so much. You may already be familiar with Tommy’s story, as Justin Bourne reintroduced him to the hockey world this past fall. You can read Justin’s insightful account of Tommy’s story here.
I asked Jared for a little more on Tommy’s story. I was intrigued, and I wanted to know more. Jared was kind enough to oblige, and share his impressions of Tommy with us to show the world what they’ll in get in return simply by investing support in this most persistent of hockey warriors:
I remember walking into the Petit National Ice Center in Milwaukee for some treatment on my shoulder from Dr. Scapattici. During my treatment the topic of my comeback came up and he mentioned that his friend Tommy, who was in Milwaukee with him to get skates fitted, was also trying to make a comeback after 10 plus years away from the game. Most people would think the guy was crazy! I felt Tommy was inspirational and doing something very admirable. When my treatment was done with Dr. Scap, I saw this guy sitting in the next room keeping to himself and kind of looking out of place, almost as if he felt he didn't belong. I remember reaching out my hand and saying "Hi, I’m Jared Aulin." He shook my hand (a strong and confident handshake) and said "Tommy Frew." I mentioned that I had heard about what he was trying to accomplish and told him that it is only unreasonable to those who don't have it in them to achieve it. I mentioned my story and comeback to him and after sharing that, a totally different person appeared in front of me. Tommy had a different glow about him, a new confidence and a smile that said "I got this". He noticed a shirt I was wearing that said "Pursuing a dream isn't for quitters" and he asked me where I got it. I told them I had them made for me to train in. Training for a comeback is never easy and I used those shirts to remind myself to continue pushing and working hard when my body was trying to tell me to give up. He asked me if he could have one, so I took one of the extra ones I had and gave it to him. I knew that he was going to need that reminder. We went out for lunch that day and had a really long chat. I dropped him off at the train station so he could make his way back home. A new and exciting journey was about to take place for him, and he was ready and willing to take it on in full force - or as Tommy would say "with guns a’blazing".
My first impression of Tommy was inspirational and very motivating. You often hear people ask "If you could choose a few people to go to war with, who would it be and why'? Well Tommy is definitely a guy on my list. He knows how far fetched his dream sounds to other people, but isn't afraid to tackle it head on because he knows what he is capable of. He knows the effort and sacrifices he has to make, and he is willing to do so to achieve it. He made a believer out of me both in our conversations and after seeing his play on the ice. He pays attention to details, he doesn't quit, he is constantly asking questions, he is an incredibly gifted skater, and most of all he plays the game with passion. Tommy is a family man first, but with his family’s support he knows there is no finish line - until he says there is one. To continue chasing a dream when people keep brushing you off, making empty promises or having that look in their eye like you are reaching for something that is out of reach would cause 95% of people to give up. Tommy is not that 95%, he is of that 5%. Blood, sweat, tears, time, sacrifice, discipline and all of the other elements that play a huge factor in achieving success as a hockey player is what Tommy accepts and doesn't run away from. All he asks for is one opportunity to prove himself, and I know when he is given that opportunity he will be ready and even more so very thankful and appreciative that someone took a chance. A chance I believe will only better a professional hockey team, because Tommy has what it takes. Tommy is a world class person and someone I can say is a "best friend". He has shown me tremendous support not just in my career but my everyday life as well, so I am very thankful for our friendship. "First impressions last a life time" and he will be remembered in a positive way for the rest of my life.
Through email and social networking, Jared was able to introduce me to Tommy, and we became fast friends. He was happy to oblige when I asked if I could share his story, and shared some aspects of his life that don’t always make the media. He shared how he balances teaching and training, family and hockey, and most of all, what it meant to him to meet someone who believed in him. When I asked if I could share what he had written as is, he again obliged.
Tommy Frew’s story...in Tommy Frew’s words, after the jump: