The George Bray Sports Association (GBSA) opens the doors for children with special needs to take part in our great northern sport of hockey. While getting to enjoy the game, the children learn skills like teamwork and socialization, while also creating friendships within their team and the community along the way. I have been refereeing at GBSA for about four years now, and I have been part of the GBSA community since I was little.
The games are very early in the morning (which, yes, is painful on a Saturday), but the second I walk into the arena and see the smiling faces of the beautiful little children that I referee, my day becomes the best it could ever be.
Being part of an organization that gives these kids the opportunity to play hockey brings me great joy, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. Seeing their eyes light up as they get a pass from a teammate or witnessing the rush of excitement when they score their first goal ever is a very special feeling. The arena just explodes with positive energy. I can’t help but look around and see a smile on every single person’s face.
Getting to know the kids has given me an even greater love for my job. It might be as simple as asking them, ‘Hey, how was your Christmas?’ – or getting a huge hug from a player after they score their goal that they’ve been pushing for each and every week. This wonderful feeling is almost indescribable. These children are such amazing people that I love and keep close to my heart each day.
With the incredible support from the community of London, and our beloved sponsors, GBSA has grown to be one of the best things to look forward to during the hockey season. If it’s our annual Pond Hockey tournament, our Annual Skate-A-thon fundraiser, or even just our weekly Saturday morning games, there is never a dull moment at GBSA.
Walking out the doors of the arena after my last game is saddening, but it makes me even more excited for the next week to come as quickly as possible. New games, new opportunities, and new chances to see the wonderful people who make this organization as wonderful as it has been for the last 50 seasons.
Watching the games brings me great joy, but being a referee for these children is one of the best feelings I have ever felt. Many of my best memories from refereeing have been laughing with the kids and also cheering on the children as they have fun rushing down the ice with the puck. GBSA provides amazing opportunities for children and families who don’t always get these options. I could not be prouder of the people and the organization!
Submitted by George Bray Sports Association