My story is widely known in Athletics but perhaps not so well known among the greater university community.
It started innocently enough. In the winter term of 2010, a hockey player in my class invited me to a game. Though I have been a life-long hockey fan, I had never been to a Warrior game. I do not know why, really. Perhaps I did not expect the caliber of the game to be very high. To be polite, more than any other reason, I went to that game, and I was flabbergasted! The skills and speed demonstrated by the players were incredible.
I immediately searched for the name of the Head Coach and sent him a message. I told him how impressed I was and that I was now a fan. Coach Bourque could have read my email and then deleted it, but he responded graciously. At the end of the season, he sent me a jersey and my now-famous felt helmet-hat to wear to games. The rest, as they say, is history. I have been to all home games since then, and as many away games as I can manage.
Since 2010, I have become more than just a fan. The more I watched the hockey team, the more I wanted to be involved. I started by supporting their fund-raising initiatives. Then I sponsored a couple of the boys at their annual golf tournament. I have adopted them through the Adopt-a-Warrior program. In recent years, I have contributed to funding the team gift. My proudest contribution, however, is a named scholarship which is awarded to a hockey player each year.
Mary Ann with her scholarship winners Ryan Hanes and Matt Amadio
It would be a mistake to think that the giving goes in one direction only. The Waterloo Warriors Men’s hockey team has accepted me into their team family. They have given me friendship and support over many years but especially recently as I struggle with the loss of my husband. Their gifts to me are priceless.
I want to urge all my fellow alumni to register for your Alumni Big Ticket and see some games. If you have not been to a Warrior game recently, whether you like hockey, football, or some other varsity sport, you will be amazed. Our teams are good and getting better. Pick your favourite and contribute if you can. The most important thing you can do is go to games and cheer for these fine student-athletes.