The Case for Winter - by Brianne McLaughlin

2010 Olympic women's ice hocker silver medalist

Most people I've met in other parts of the country think Cleveland winters are pretty miserable. I was in Minnesota last year, and they say our winters are mild. But it didn't seem much different than home. Once you get so cold, it doesn't really matter. Zero degrees versus 30 below zero is still cold, no matter what. I can't tell the difference.

I do complain about the cold sometimes, and people laugh because I play hockey. But it's not freezing out there when you're skating around. You're warm.

Being outside in the winter is special. The snow always seems magical. We used to play backyard football — full-out tackle football. You can do things when playing snow football that you would never do in the summertime. You think you can't get hurt because of the snow, and it doesn't hurt when you fall. Snow is the equalizer. It slows everything down. You go for the big plays.

I definitely have winter friends. When you're little, anyone will go outside. As you get older, there are only certain people who will play in the snow. My hockey friends will go out and go sledding. Some people just don't like to get cold and wet.

I love playing in it. I still sled. I still make forts. I played hockey outdoors growing up. We'd come in and we'd have ice hanging from our helmets.

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