Middle of the third period, a hard fought game and both teams are just trying to score one more goal to seal the deal. As goaltender, giving my team a chance to win, is my focus. Wetness from sweat and determination soaks through my chest pad. My team is on offense, passing the puck around the opponent’s zone, trying to get a good shot on goal. Hockey is my favorite sport and one of the greatest teachers in my life. Suddenly, our defender turns the puck over on their blue line. It’s a 1-on-1 breakaway. The skater on the attack and the puck coming fast.
As the puck crosses into the neutral zone, I c-cut out of my crease, challenging the shooter as he gets closer. Skating out of my crease to challenge shots is similar to the way I face everyday problems. I take challenges head-on with confidence, striving to succeed while helping others around me. In Spanish, a group presentation turned solo when my partner got injured. In the end, I gave an engaging presentation to the class, including information from both of our work, earning praise. I love the feeling of fighting or working hard to succeed. Taking a rigorous load with four AP classes, playing three sports and working, there is a lot on my plate. In Honors Physics, our Spring Project meant constructing a five-foot tall wooden column, going to numerous stores to find just the right springs and performing hours of calculations to determine the correct weight and tension. I’m a perfectionist, exceeding expectations on this project, having a spring which oscillated freely for the longest time in the entire class.
When my opponent hits the blue line, I back-skate toward my crease, maintaining my gap and taking away as much of the net as possible. As he gets deeper in our zone, he moves left forcing me towards the post. Reading, reacting and adapting to his move is the same skill set I use off the ice. This past summer, breaking my collarbone during practice meant canceling six hockey showcases and recruiting combines. Not being on the ice for three months and missing college hockey opportunities only drove me to fight through physical therapy harder and return to the ice stronger than before. Since my injury, I have learned to never take things for granted. Nothing is guaranteed and every accomplishment must be earned. Each set-back is an opportunity to learn, adapt and overcome the situation at hand. I try to never let anything get me down. Rather, I pull up my bootstraps and keep moving forward.
With impressive puck handling, the attacker shoots a backhand to my glove side. I slide left and reach my glove out, snagging the puck out of the air and making the save. In big situations, my mental toughness and dependability allow teammates to believe I can make the save any day. Working a job in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) since 8th grade, mental toughness, apprenticeship, and dependability drive me to succeed for customers. Burrowing through crawl spaces, tight roping on attic beams and dollying heavy equipment are only some of my responsibilities. Working with customers, learning on-the-job about HVAC, while also allowing time for homework and hockey are important life lessons. It’s a tough job, but I love the work and appreciate the value of being responsible and accountable for my actions.
Whether I make the save or not, I know in the end the person I am on and off the ice is most important. Being a goaltender teaches me to be a better person. It helps me rise to the challenge, react and adapt to problems, and be dependable in all aspects of life. Hockey is huge for me, a sport I truly love playing. Every time I step out on the ice, hockey teaches some of the best life lessons.