June 19, 2019
Sports Column

Players battled adversity

Adversity comes in different forms. Writer’s block for a journalist. Control problems for a pitcher.

Your quality of life is affected by your ability to handle adversity.

It’s easy to walk around with a perpetual smile when things are going well.

It’s much more difficult to retain that constant grin when you’re dealing with adversity.

An unfortunate chapter in the University of Maine men’s hockey season came to a close on Tuesday.

Black Bear wingers Mike Hamilton and Wes Clark returned to the ice after serving suspensions for their roles in a fight over Hamilton’s ex-girlfriend last month.

Hamilton, who instigated the altercation with a member of the baseball team who was involved with his ex-girlfriend, will serve a four-game suspension but he will at least be able to practice with the team.

Clark, who was one of five hockey players who tried to break up the fight, can practice and play immediately.

Both had pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct after originally being charged with assault and aggravated criminal trespass.

Now it is up to Hamilton and Clark to put this adversity behind them. This can actually be beneficial to both of them in the long run.

They have had to endure media scrutiny since the hockey team is the flagship program at the institution.

They probably feel they let their teammates down and want to make amends.

This was a life-altering ordeal for them.

They had to dig deep within themselves and call on their inner strength to get through this seemingly endless period of time.

But they also discovered that their families, coaches, teammates and fans willingly came to their aid.

And they will never forget them for it.

It is times like these that draw people closer together.

Adversity can cause separation but it can also create a special bond.

That could well be how this all plays out.

In addition, if they take a positive attitude toward the situation and learn from their mistakes, they will be able to handle adversity more effectively in the future.

Predicaments that used to stress them out will probably pale in comparison to this.

They will also know how to handle similar situations.

By avoiding them.

They were sincere when they took responsibility for their actions Tuesday and they’re eager to get on with the rest of their lives. They were elated to be back on the practice ice with the guys who stood by them.

We all make mistakes.

We have all put ourselves in difficult predicaments from time to time. We have all done things we regret or been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Hamilton and Clark will still take some verbal abuse from opposing fans.

They will be scrutinized.

They know that. But they seem ready to handle it.

For nearly a month, their scholastic and hockey careers were in serious jeopardy.

They had to live with that uncertainty every day.

They probably didn’t get much sleep.

But they have been able to survive it.

Now it is time for them to get on with their lives and see if they can help the Black Bears earn an eighth straight NCAA tourney berth.

Larry Mahoney can be reached at 990-8231, 1-800-310-8600 or by email at lmahoney@bangordailynews.net.

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