Athlete of the Month: Joy Joung

When Joy Joung ’11 took the ice for the final game of her collegiate hockey career, it was only supposed to be for a few minutes. She was only starting, for the very first time this season, because she was a senior and it was senior night. After the first whistle, the plan was for her to give up the net to a younger goalie looking to gain experience. Even getting to that first whistle would have been an extraordinary feat considering what Joy has endured during her time at Brown.

Joy had always dreamed of joining the military and serving our country.

When she first came to Brown she thought that she would have to put that dream on hold, because there was no ROTC on campus and she had no means of transportation to get to the Providence College campus. By her junior year, however, things changed. Her roommate had a car that Joy could use and suddenly ROTC at Providence College didn’t seem so impossible. In her third year at Brown, she decided to take on a double major of International Relations and Slavic Studies, a Division 1 varsity sport, and ROTC all at once. Despite the intense workload, Joy continued to play hockey and participate in ROTC for almost the entire year.

That spring – during finals period – Joy went to the doctors after experiencing headaches and few seizures. After the visit, Joy was diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of a golf ball.

Immediately after she finished her semester, she returned home to California and went into surgery. The doctors succeeded in removing the tumor, which was deemed benign. When I asked Joy about the surgery, she didn’t talk about how afraid she was, or how hard it was on her. The first thing she mentioned was that four of her hockey teammate flew out to California to be with her during the surgery.  “It was amazing that four of my teammates flew in from all over the States and Canada, on such short notice, to be with me.”

After a successful surgery, Joy began her journey towards making it back on the ice. However, due to the challenges of getting cleared to play a very physical sport, and the outstanding play of sophomore goalie Katie Jamison ’13, Joy had yet to play a single minute leading up to the last game of the season.

Joy would get the start the final game because it was senior night; a night where seniors are honored by having the entire starting line consist of players in their final year of college, playing their final game. Despite the chance to start, Joy was only going to play for a few minutes, and then she would be replaced by a freshman.

Despite knowing this fact, Joy still took the ice excited to play against heavily favored Quinnipiac, and she would stay on the ice until the final whistle of overtime. Joy’s overwhelming play in the net forced the coach to keep her in the game. She made save after save, and by the third period the Bears had jumped to a 3-2 lead. After Quinnipiac scored on a power play towards the end of the third period, the game went into overtime and ended in a scoreless draw. Managing to tie an extremely talented Quinnipiac team was a victory in itself for the Bears.

Joy played one of the best games of her career, making 38 saves, but the first thing she said was “My defense did an amazing job, I could see the puck the whole game; they made my job much easier.”

As Joy’s college career comes to a close, she hopes to rejoin the military. To Joy, her ROTC battalion is extended family, and she credited them with giving her the strength to make it through her surgery. Joy’s next goal is to get a medical waiver to permit her to join Officer Candidacy School – allowing her to fulfill a lifelong dream. Even if she doesn’t ever get cleared to join the military, a very real possibility, Joy will not be swayed. She does not define herself by individual victories, much less minor setbacks.


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About the author

Ryan Fleming '13 is the Editor Emeritus of the Brown Spectator. He is a Mechanical Engineering major from Southern Maryland.

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