Peyton was an 11 year old goalie who had only been a goalie for a few years. She started playing hockey when she was 6, but realized later that she really loved goalie. She got scored on A LOT her first season, but she knew to expect that since she was a beginner. No matter the score, she always had fun trying to stop the puck!
After awhile, Peyton decided that she really wanted to try to make a travel team. She knew that she would have to work really hard to do it, but she was up for the challenge!
She practiced her butterfly while watching TV, she had her mom throw pucks at her in the backyard so she could practice her glove, and she even started to learn how to juggle!
When she tried out for the travel team, she played pretty well and she definitely made more saves than usual! She felt pretty confident, but there were other good goalies on the ice. She wasn’t sure if she would make the team or not.
After tryouts were over, she went home and anxiously waited for the coaches to call to let her know if she made the team or not.
Eventually, the phone rang.
“Hello?” answered Peyton.
“Hi Peyton! This is Coach Potter. I just wanted to say that we thought you worked really hard and played great at tryouts today! We’d like to offer you a spot on the team!”
Peyton couldn’t believe it. “Really?! Wow thank you! I’m so excited!”
“Good! You earned it. Now, there is one thing we need to talk about. One of the other goalies trying out, Sarah, has been playing a lot longer than you and she will also be on the team. Since this is travel, playing time might not always be equal and you might mostly be the backup goalie. Is that ok with you?”
Peyton thought hard about it for a second. “Yeah, I’m ok with that Coach. I know she is better so I’ll just work hard to be as good as her!”
“Great!” said Coach Potter. “That’s the attitude we’re looking for!”
Peyton thanked the coach and hung up. She was super excited! She did it. She made the team!
On the first day of practice, she couldn’t help but pay attention to how many pucks she saved compared to Sarah. Halfway through practice, Peyton realized she had let in double the amount of pucks that Sarah had. She started to feel discouraged and thought, “Maybe I really am just a backup goalie.”
Their first game was that weekend. They were playing a team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year so Coach Potter really wanted to win. She announced the starting lineup and Sarah was going to be playing goalie.
Peyton’s heart sank. It suddenly felt like it was official that she would be the backup the rest of the year. During the game, Peyton hung her head and struggled to smile on the bench. The team ended up winning but she was having a hard time being happy.
After the game, Coach pulled Peyton aside.
“Hey Peyton, what’s going on? Why do you look so upset?”
Peyton started tearing up. “I know you said she was better than me but she’s really good! I just don’t think I’m going to get to play this season which is hard because I love to play. It’s the best part!”
“Peyton, this is our first game! There is a lot of hockey left this season. You will get your chance. I promise! But you have to persevere and work really hard to earn that chance. Can you do that for me?”
Peyton nodded and Coach gave her a high five.
That night Peyton decided that she would persevere and work as hard as she could to get better. She spent hours over the next few weeks learning to juggle, playing wall ball with herself, watching TV to see how other goalies stopped pucks and even went to stick time for some lessons. During practice, she tried to just focus on what she was doing and not what Sarah was doing. During games she kept a positive attitude and cheered loudly for her team.
After a few weeks, her team did a shootout in practice. Peyton stopped 3 more pucks than Sarah! She couldn’t believe it!
“Great job today, Peyton! You’ve gotten a lot better,” said Sarah.
“Wow thanks!” replied Peyton.
The following Saturday, Coach Potter announced the starting lineup: “Georgie, Ainsley, Avery, Hannah, Amelia and Peyton!”
The whole team started to cheer! Peyton was going to get to play!
The game was a TON of fun. Peyton didn’t save every puck but the team played really well and they ended up tying! Peyton felt super proud of herself and was thankful that she stuck with it and persevered instead of giving up.
“Peyton! I am so proud of you. You played amazing and I think you’ve earned your chance to have equal playing time with Sarah! How do you feel about that?” asked Coach.
“Really? I would love that! Wow, now I want to work even harder so I can win my next game! I won’t let you down Coach!” exclaimed Peyton.
“Peyton, as long as you work hard, have a positive attitude and have fun, you won’t let me down. I’m really proud of you kid”
Peyton smiled. She was so proud and happy to know that hard work and perseverance really does pay off.