MEN'S HOCKEY: Check-Point
Sophomore Defenseman Michael Matheson Is Ready To Embrace The Moment
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 07:10
Yet Matheson has a lot of experience dealing with pivotal decisions and when they ought to be confronted.
There are times that are appropriate for mak- ing choices about future plans in the NHL—or “extracurriculars” as Matheson casually phrases it. And a race for the NCAA tournament isn’t one of them.
“Those are types of questions I ask myself at the end of the season,” Matheson said.
Like he always has done, the sophomore consulted his parents’ advice throughout the decision-making process. Their caring presence provides Matheson with a sounding board, and their guidance brings order to the chaotic sea of curiosity regarding his next move.
“They’ve been vital,” Matheson said of his parents. “Without them, I would’ve had all those calls coming in right to me, and it would’ve been impossible to put that on the backburner and focus on my season and my teammates.”
Despite his parents’ supportive role, the course Matheson has taken up the ranks of organized hockey has been his own to chart. Returning for his sophomore season is another step along the journey.
“We helped him step through the process and
made sure he had all the information,” Rod said, “but at the end of the day we wanted him to make the decision.”
Like winning players in any sport, Matheson does not tolerate unfinished business.
None of his individual accolades could palliate the sting of BC’s unceremonious exit from the NCAA Tournament last March. Only a year removed from capturing their fifth national title, the Eagles hopelessly watched underdog Union College bring an end to a once promising-looking season. Open looks at the net came up empty, and the stoic defense Matheson had anchored all season long appeared vulnerable at the worst possible time.
“As much as you can try not to have a champion- ship hangover, it’s just there,” he said. “You can work really hard but it’s still there.”
As Matheson and his teammates soon found out, the symptoms of a championship hangover lead to shortened seasons. The shadows that disappointment casts tend to linger around the ice until new success is forged.
“It makes you remember the feeling of losing wherever you are,” Matheson said. “I don’t want that feeling again.”
The sophomore defenseman’s hatred of failure rivals that of the program he plays for. Higher-cali- ber athletes don’t retreat from a disappointing loss for greener pastures—they return with vengeance in mind.
“If you talk to anybody that knows me, they’ll tell you that I hate losing more than anything in the world,” Matheson said. “It ignites even more of a fire.”
As a father who watched his son’s meteoric rise from peewee participant to one of the world’s best, Rod Matheson can attest to that statement.
“[Michael] was so focused,” he said. “He’s been driven to succeed in this game for a long time.”
No matter how strong a distaste for losing Matheson possesses, it does not erase the challenges of playing in what is arguably the country’s most competitive conference. Nor can preseason talk bring back the stellar senior class the BC squad has lost, a core group of Eagles who seemingly added a Beanpot trophy or national title to the trophy case every season.
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