Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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Hockey It was nearing the end of our practice; we were all exhausted, but we skated as though we had just stepped onto the ice. We knew that tomorrow, we had our first playoff game. The battles we faced were hard fought, and the victories were sweet. The team and I were ready to get off the ice and go home, but our coach called us in. He had a letter in his hand. He read it to us, and the only words that echoed in my head after that were, ""¦you have been officially disqualified." A feeling of rage and betrayal had enveloped me. A few of my teammates had almost started to cry. It was our first playoffs, and we had been excluded. It was that experience that taught me that people act purely out of self-interest and expediency rather than out of fairness and justice.

The season had officially started on September 17, 2000, but I joined the team a little later because I wanted to make sure that I could handle the school work that my teachers game me, along with hockey practice three times a week. At first we started out slow. After all, it was only our first season playing with teams outside of the city. But after the first four of five games, we started to develop some confidence in ourselves, and slowly but surely our wins started to get more frequent. This is when I believe that some people started to get a little nervous.

When the disqualification letter came, in it, the officials included the reasons for disqualification. In all, they disqualified us for two reasons. They claimed that three of the players on our team didn't pay for the season, and that those same players weren't members of a certain club. Theses accusations were totally fallacious and absurd. About a week after the disqualification, the people that were accused of not paying had acquired the receipt that proved that they had paid. These same players then also provide evidence that they had a current membership with the specific club that the NorCal officials required.

Coincidentally, the league that we were playing in was run by the parents of the children on one of the team. Another reason that lead me to believe that we were unjustly disqualified is that one of my teammates mom overheard a conversation some of the parents from the other team were having. My friend's mom happened to overhear that they were saying that we had brought in ringers from Russia to play for our team.

After I had heard that the team had been disqualified, I felt terrible. I felt like I had been punished for something I didn't do. Our parents tried to tell us that it wasn't our fault; they said, "It is the parents that failed you," but I still couldn't believe it. It was then that I had realized that most people care about themselves, and only themselves. I realized that it doesn't matter who's right or who's wrong, what matters is who has more power and what they want. I realized that no matter how much I tried to see it from the league's official's point of view, I kept coming up with the same thing; that they didn't want my team to compete because they were scared that we might win.

It was that event that opened my eyes to the real world and to the true nature of people. It was then that I realized that in this world, no one was going to help me except my family or myself. I believe my father put it best when he said, ""¦the only people you can TRULY trust are your brother, your mother, and myself." I'm not saying that I would put everyone else's lives in front of mine, but I would never ruin a child's dreams or ambitions because of something so trivial and inconsequential as a "pee wee" hockey game.