Kacey Bellamy has to be one of the most unapologetically competitive people I have ever met. And that's the way it should be. Being competitive is a POSITIVE characteristic. It's something that, as female athletes, we sometimes feel that we have to shy away from. Be nicer? Hell no. Talk to Kacey for about 5 minutes and you'll realize that instead of apologizing for wanting to win, you should just up your game.
During our very first workout with the hockey girls, Kacey and I went up against each other in Go Line, a classic IPF drill/game. By some obscure twist of fate, I won. Kacey was NOT happy. And she showed it. She didn't try to laugh it off or be friends with me right away. She was legit pissed off and she refocused on the next game with a new gleam of evil in her eye. And I loved every second of it. (I was also shaking in my Puma's.)
I hope that women and girls in sports can take a lesson from that story. We don't need to be embarrassed that we want to win. Wanting to win is a good thing. Being intense and not always needing to be liked or needing to be the "nice" girl is badass! We need to continue to mold the culture in women's sports into one where we can truly fight and scrap for own success.
With that said, Kacey Bellamy is a strong and talented individual with a vertical jump that could compete at the NFL combine. She's LITERALLY a freak. She jumped a 29.5" one week at IPF and we all looked around thinking that the mat wasn't calibrated or something. This girl has mad ups, which means mad explosiveness, which means that she's so much fun to watch on the ice.
We asked Kacey a few questions.
SC: What charactertistic of yours has helped you get to this point in hockey?
KB: I would have to say my inner strength mentally and being able to keep it light and fun around the locker room, bus, hotel, and weight room. But I think I also know when to switch to get sh*t done mode. (Umm, I think this is the mode I was talking about above!)
SC: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
KB: Filet Mignon wrapped in bacon topped with gorgonzola cheese.
(That was specific AF. But, yes please.)
SC: How do you see women's hockey continuing to grow in America?
KB: The participation has grown tremendously in the last 10 years. When I was in high school there were very few girls' programs. Now, everywhere you go there, is a program from Mites all the way to Junior. I think a lot of it has to do with the exposure of women's sports in general and little girls are now able to see these sports being played at the highest level on TV. We need to keep pushing for equality through every sport. But the keys to making hockey even bigger are the social media outlets, more exposure of the Canada vs. US games on television, more marketing in general, and having youth teams attend the games. For me personally, whenever I can work a clinic or talk to a team, I try to leave a lasting impression on those girls because so many of my national teammates have stories about meeting their role models at a young age. I hope to be a positive influence and memory for whoever I can.
ICYMI: The USA Women's Hockey team has demanded fair and equitable treatment from USA Hockey and plans to boycott the IHHF Women's World Championships next month if an agreement cannot be made. Read more about it here.