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Believe In Yourself

“Go! Run! Skate hard! Earn it!” I could hear the outrageous voice of my coach. 4 – 4. Overtime. Hard feelings, intense moments, trying your best and absorbing hits. The puck roughly bounces down the smooth ice behind the net of our goalie. One of the players of the opposing team attempted to jam the puck into our goalie’s territory but I slid down just to get the edge of his Bauer Vapor X600 to save a nerve-racking loss. The bench and crowd applauded. We started up the ice but our drive was stopped by one of their skilled defensemen until I realized the ref had held his hand up against the far end of the arena. The ref had just stated the call, the call that put the upper-hand on my team. A penalty that would give my team a chance to receive glory. 2:00 minute penalty on the clock. Enough time to score. We lose a faceoff against one of the top centremen in the league. I retrieve the puck and restart the drive. My finger tips are on fire. Gripping my stick, I push myself farther and farther towards the far away net on the other end. I see the net out of the blue when I absorb a big hit into the boards. I shrug it off knowing today, I couldn’t give up. I feel my leg go numb but I can’t stop. My team retreats and we restart with seconds remaining to the finish. I receive the pass and snipe it to my teammate. 2 on 1. My teammate makes eye contact with me and I know what to do. He fakes the shot and the puck slides towards me. I cling it to my stick and flick my slap shot top corner just to see my teammates skating towards me celebrating. My teammates jump up and down awaiting the trophy. We won! We won the most important game ever. We won the Stanley Cup! — BAM! BAM! BAM! “Calvin!” my dad shouted. “It’s time for the moving trip.” Oh no, I thought. I’m going be late! I grab my suitcase, pack the last minute valuables and get dressed knowing today was going to be a heartbreaking day leaving my house in Glendale! My dad reversed the van out signaling me that it was time. I lingered to the van dragging my suitcase which contained all of my household memories and souvenirs. I took a large step into the old red rusty trailblazer as my dad took a strong step on the accelerate panel which started our journey to Pittsburgh. We had to take the moving trip to Pittsburgh because of my dad’s work. He was getting transported to a different location. Though I was sad about leaving my friends, home and community, I was just as much excited to go to Pittsburgh because the current hockey superstar #87 Sidney Crosby played there, and my dad had promised to see one game with me the day before the first day of school for me in Pittsburgh. Looking outside the window, I slowly dozed off watching the blue sky and the air blowing the trees. “Hey son, rise and shine!” hollered my dad as I was partially awake from my wonderful sleep. “You don’t want to miss the fun in Pittsburgh.” I quickly awoke from my deep sleep and wished for my dad to hurry with the hotel parking. Once my dad’s van came to a halt, I hopped out of the van and went to the back to get our stuff. We had about 3 full suitcases and one handbag which we were supposed to pick up at the airport but had been delivered to our hotel. We were in a hotel temporarily until we were allowed to move into our new home. Once we put all of our things into our room, my dad chimed into the silence. “Son, what do you say we go on a stroll, a few blocks or so?”….my dad asked. We walked a few blocks when we reached the Pittsburgh Mall. It was shiny with lots of windows. My dad informed me that he would first have to stop at the workplace on the lower level to tell his new boss when he would be able to continue his full time work. I agreed. A few minutes passed and I decided to call my mom. My mom had already taken the trip due to her work as well so we had told her we would meet her here. I pulled out my new Apple phone and dialed her cell number. She picked it up in a haste. “Calvin? Is that you?” my mom asked anxiously. “Yes mom, it’s me.” “Which hotel are you staying in for a few days?” my mom asked. “The Pittsburgh Inn,” I replied. “Alright, I’ll meet you at the hotel at 5pm and then your dad talked to me earlier telling me that you and your dad were going to see a game as well.” I smiled. “I can’t wait!” I told her. “Bye Calvin!” Bye mom!” “Ready to go!” my dad broke the silence. “Of course,” I reply. We walked through the mall passing many stores and restaurants. After it was almost 12:00, we went out for lunch at A&W which was a common restaurant in Glendale. After we reached the end of the mall, there was a large entrance leading to the Pittsburgh Penguins Home Arena. It felt like a dream just to walk around the entrance. “This is where our game will be played,” my dad stated. We exited out of the mall and my dad spotted a carnival out of the blue. “We can’t forget to stop by that carnival and take some rides!” my dad exclaimed. I grinned. For almost an hour and a half, we had taken ride after ride after ride until my dad decided it was time to go home and meet mom. We drove home and mom was waiting for us at the revolving doors. She ran over to seize me in a nice warm hug. “Now you two have a hockey game to go to so I don’t want to waste any time. You two run and enjoy while I cook dinner for when you come back.” We said goodbye and headed towards the hockey arena. We parked the van and stepped inside the hockey arena as I started to feel a little bit chilly. Frames of old hockey legends and hall of famers were all over the place. After we had looked at the wonderful scenery, we entered the ice cold den of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins were warming up and out of the corner of my eye, I saw Crosby practicing for tonight’s big game. The associate guided us to our seats. We had a great view. We could see both teams vividly practicing their skills and stretching waiting for this playoff deciding game. 1st period, 2nd period, 3rd period…no goals yet. The game was getting very intense as Crosby started a drive towards the other end and shot a wrist shot right under the goalie’s glove. Everyone shot up in awe as Crosby smiled at his fans. I waved to him and he waved back as he celebrated his lone victory goal. On the way home, my dad and I listened to the post game show where they talk about the game highlights and statistics. When we got home, my mom’s meal’s fragrance came all the way to the elevator. Boy, it smelled good! We entered our room and mom had the whole table set up with delicious courses to eat like fried chicken, pasta, noodles, soup and moreover, she had my most favourite desert, maple walnut ice cream. We all sat down to a magnificent feast. It was very tasty! “Alright Calvin, It’s time to go to sleep or you’ll be late for school tomorrow,” my dad hollered. “Ok!” I quickly grabbed me I Pad and searched me new school’s name and there was my dream thought. My new school had a hockey team. I was going to check how good they were when I heard my mom and dad coming upstairs. I switched off the tablet, turned out the lights and turning the blanket over myself and closed my eyes tightly awaiting tomorrow’s journey. “Calvin! Calvin! Today’s a school day. Don’t forget!” my mom exclaimed. I slowly lifted myself off my comfy bed and headed towards the washroom to freshen up. After I had taken a shower, I walked to the table to have breakfast. My mom had baked cinnamon buns and coffee. Double sugar – double cream. Just how I loved my morning coffee. Delicious, I thought as I took a seat. My mom served me a cinnamon bun and poured me my coffee in the cup. I devoured my breakfast. My dad helped me pack all of my school supplies into my backpack while my mom made me a pack of lunch. My mom and dad told me that they would drop me off at school since they also had to work. When my mom pulled into the loop, I could see a sign saying hockey tryouts were at noon. I could hardly wait. My mom’s car came to a halt and I hopped out of the backseat. “Bye Calvin! Have fun!” said mom.“Bye mom!” I replied. The bell rang and everyone dashed inside to get to their classes when someone about my age ran into me. I struggled to keep balance and fell. The kid helped me up introducing himself. “Hey, I’m Jakob, what’s your name?”Jakob asked. I’m Calvin, I’m in Mr. Hilton’s homeroom.” Same,” he replied. “I’m new to this school.” “Cool, I’ll show you around!” Jakob took me on a tour of the school and we both hastily rushed to class not wanting to be late. I stowed my stuff into my assigned locker and entered the classroom scouring the room to find my desk. I was sitting beside Jakob and someone named Michael in the back corner. I took a seat and so did Jakob. Someone walked over and sat down in the desk beside me. The kid put his hand out for a greeting. “Hey, I’m Michael! You are going to have a lot of fun at this school because we have the best hockey team in all of the hockey teams in our division. “How did you know that I play hockey?” I inquired. “I saw you with your hockey bag in the hallway.” Everyone stopped talking in a millisecond. Mr. Hilton entered the room. He held an attendance sheet and a pen and put them on the stand. “Good morning class, I’m Mr. Hilton, your grade 11 teacher. First everyone, I would like to introduce Calvin who has just moved to Pittsburgh from his old town Glendale. Come on up, Calvin.” I got up out of my chair and walked up to the front of the class. “Hi, I’m Calvin,” I said. “Calvin, tell the class some things you did when you were in Glendale.” “I played a lot of hockey and my school team won a lot of championships.” That’s great to hear. I hope you enjoy class with us, Calvin. You may go to your seat.” I went back to my seat and Mr. Hilton started the first lesson of the year. Ring Ring Ring! “Dismissal time! See you after lunch break!” “Hey Calvin, you want to eat lunch with us?” “Sure!” I replied. We sat down at the far end table in the cafeteria so we could hear each other talk. Jakob had said that the cafeteria was so loud that the principal had stopped monitoring it. We opened up our lunch boxes and started eating. Jakob broke up the silence. “Calvin, are you going to hockey tryouts? They start in about 10-15 minutes,” said Jakob and Michael together. “Of course!” How could I miss hockey tryouts! We all took our last bites of our lunches and grabbed our hockey bags sprinting to the dressing rooms. Jakob was ready first followed by Michael and finally, me. Michael led us to the spots where we could keep our bags. We gripped our sticks and let our skates slide onto the ice awaiting the coach’s selection for the team. We skated about 50 laps and then divided into groups for 2 on 1’s and breakaways. Finally, for the last 15 minutes, we got to have a scrimmage which my team won. “Yeah guys, nice plays!” “We played a solid game out there. Michael was speaking without much breath as he was sweating all over his face. We all took off our hockey equipment and headed back towards our classroom trying to prevent consequences of being late. “Attendance Time” called Mr. Hilton as we were dashing in making sure he wouldn’t be able to realize they had just made it. We had made it without problem. We settled into our desks and Mr. Hilton continued. “Today, we are going to have a 3 partner project about your favourite sport. You just have to write one 3 page essay.” Jakob nudged me and I glared at him trying to signal him not to get in trouble. He quickly jotted down something on a piece of scrap paper and threw it over. I unfolded the note and read it: Want to play hockey after school? I grinned. I watched Mr. Hilton’s body shift to the other side of the class and quickly wrote down the obvious answer. Yes! I passed the note back and the lesson continued. Ring, ring, ring! “The last partner group will be Michael, Jakob and Calvin. Alright everyone, see you tomorrow! Start working on your projects! “Go! Go!” We had finally made it to the rink. We all put on our hockey equipment and got ready to shoot and score. Since Michael was a goalie, he played in net. We were having so much fun when three big students wearing rough clothes who looked like grade 12ers came over. “You must be the new kid?” The big guy was pointing at me. “Yes,” I murmured.” “ If you think you could make the NHL, you can’t or won’t because you’re just a short kid and the big hockey leagues don’t take small players because they could get seriously injured or they won’t be able to stop 6’0 feet 200 lb defensemen. They only take big guys so they can have an overpowered team so they can win the cup. They take big guys like us so we can use our skills which you don’t have.” The big guys laughed. Jakob and Michael stood up for me. “What do you care?” Jakob inquired. “Are you his trainer?” Michael asked in a high tone. “Whatever,” they said and they left. Calvin’s mom pulled over at the rink and his mom gave his friends and him a ride home still having trouble trying to wash away the big guys’ words. Calvin and his mom reached home and Calvin, who had a school homework project to work on went to his room. Calvin lifted his backpack and pulled out his lined paper, ready to start the homework project. Somehow, Calvin couldn’t focus. All he could think of was what the big guys’ had said. Calvin almost fell asleep until his mom and dad called him to the dinner table. Calvin ate slowly and was not in a mood to talk so his dad decided to go for a movie. They watched an amazing Marvel movie but Calvin’s face didn’t show his happiness. Calvin just couldn’t help thinking about what the big guy said to him about him and the NHL. Am I even good at hockey? Am I a good player? Just thinking about it made Calvin fall fast asleep. “Calvin, It’s time for breakfast. We have been waiting for 20 minutes already.” “What?” That was unusual. He usually woke up early. “You’ll be late for your first hockey practice with your school team. Congratulations Calvin!” I had made the team! I wondered if Jakob and Michael had also made the team. I got dressed and tossed my hockey bag over my shoulder and waved goodbye to my parents and started biking to school on my mountain bike. Jakob and Michael were already there skating over to me as we said congrats to each other. I put on my equipment and started some laps with long strides and my best effort and I was just about to skid to a stop when I collapsed in a big collusion. When I got back to my feet, the big guy stood in front of me. “You still think that you are going to make the NHL, eh? Coaches want tough and big guys. Not 5’10 height players. You only made the team because you had the average amount of skills. We’re above average.” Calvin was heartbroken as the coach called the team in for a pep talk on the first drill. Mr. Hilton was just about to start as I was coming in. He did his regular morning routine and then proposed a project. Class, you will have a test next week on hard-core science. Everyone moaned. Now class, I know it’s hard and people are saying you won’t be able to ace it but trust me, when you try, you can do anything. Just ignore what anyone says. Just go home and study with all your effort. Those words tingled inside Calvin’s had. What the big guy had said didn’t have to be true. I controlled myself and my opinion mattered. I have to believe in myself. “Dismissal! Have a good weekend, class!” Everyone packed their backpack’s and dashed into their parent’s cars knowing tomorrow was a big day. I hopped into my mom’s car and we headed home awaiting the trip to Buffalo. This year’s NHL hockey draft was being held in Buffalo and that was where I was going to go and prove my skills. I slept early since I knew I had to get up early due to the early flight. Calvin dozed off just thinking about hearing his name on the intercom being picked up by a NHL team in the first round. “Calvin! Quick! You’ll miss your flight.” My mom was shouting loudly from the kitchen. I sprinted towards the garage to get into the car and my parents got in quickly knowing how significant this event was to me. We drove out of our house and towards the airport. We confirmed my ticket at the desk and found the plane terminal. I waved goodbye to them and they wished me luck reminding me that the returning flight was in the evening. I had entered the Westjet Plane and finally after a wait of a few people, it took off. It was a 1-2 hour flight and when we finally got there, the draft was about to start! I called to a taxi driver and I explained him the route. He dropped me off at the stadium in no later than 5 minutes. I paid him and showed the security my ticket and he let me in. “The draft has officially started now,” the intercom spoke in a low loud voice. “The Pittsburgh Penguins make the first selection of this year’s draft.” The Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager walked up and started to talk in the microphone. “The Pittsburgh Penguins select Calvin Johansen with their first pick of the year.” “Calvin, please step down to the stage. I grinned. I could see the big guy in the corner with his look of jealousy. I just smiled. I had learned one thing out of this all. You have to believe in yourself to be successful. I walked to the front podium with pride. The end.

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