Student Spotlight: Duncan McBride skates against stereotypes

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Ever since the age of two freshman Duncan McBride has been on the ice, skating. At the age of four she started hockey. She has been playing for her co-ed team, the Chesterfield Falcons, for 11 years, and has been played her favorite position, defense, for just as long.

McBride’s father, Michael McBride, used to play hockey with his friends.

“My dad is my idol. I wanted to be like him, when I first started playing. It’s been a part of my daily life since. My parents watch hockey almost daily and I would play with hockey dolls when I was little,” McBride said.

Despite the few number of female hockey players, McBride met a loyal teammate in her first year of hockey.

“My best friend and long-time teammate Lizzy Konopelski, an eighth grader at Crestview Middle School, has been playing as long as I have. Her dad is our coach and almost always has been except for one year. Lizzy is the one four girls on my team,” McBride said.

Despite her closeness with Konopelski, McBride dislikes playing with other girls.

“All girls teams aren’t as physical and don’t allow checking, which is my favorite part,” McBride said.

While occasionally at practice they do get to train this skill of checking, McBride often uses it to express her emotions during the games.

“At our last tournament, in Chicago, I got really mad at this guy because he had scored on our goal, while I was defending him. I decided pretty quickly afterwards that I wanted to check the guy. Later in the game I checked him into the glass pretty hard and he spit all over! There were a bunch of guys sitting right behind where I checked him and it caused them to scream. They also cheered, but it was awesome,” Mc Bride said.

McBride’s favorite games are the ones against all boys’ teams because of their aggressive nature.

“Most guys want to kill me, but a few go really gently. It usually makes them really mad when I make a good play too. I guess they’re expecting some scared, incapable little girl,” McBride said.

McBride’s aggressive nature lends itself well to her sport, but she’s never gotten into a fight as it is discouraged.

“There was this one close call though, at practice when I was 10. One of my teammates was making fun of me, so I took a swing at him,” McBride said.

While her teammates do make fun of her from time to time, McBride considers them brothers.

“I took a little time off last year, but I came back not too long after because I missed them,” McBride said.

When she’s not attending one of her five weekly practices, McBride teaches younger kids.

”We call them ‘Mites’. They are about six-years-old and mostly boys. It’s also a non-competitive environment. Lizzy and I love working with them,” McBride said.

McBride also trains on her own with her dad.

“We do Stick and Puck. It’s basically a light form of hockey. The only equipment you need is a helmet, gloves, a stick, and a puck,” McBride said.

Aside from love of sport, McBride also trains a lot to keep her game sharp.

“Hockey is a lot harder than it looks. It takes a lot of strategy, skill and a good feel for skating. If you’ve been skating since you were two, you skate better than you walk,” McBride said.

During the games McBride displays the results of her training.

“My favorite game was against St. Peters. I was 11. I remember one of their players rushing on me. I don’t know why I did it, but I bent down and made him do a backflip over my back. Somehow, in the end I was still standing, but he was on his back, crying,” McBride said.

This might be the last year that McBride will be playing for Chesterfield Falcons, but the programs does not end until the age of 18.

“I’m not sure if I’m going to keep playing. High School hockey is really fast and really hard to play. I think I’m up for the challenge though. I just haven’t completely decided,” McBride said.

Despite McBride’s uncertainty for next year, she encourages all girls to do what they love, even if it is a male-dominated event.

“Be tough and don’t care what others think or say about you,” McBride said.

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