There is likely a time, at the
elementary or high-school level, when we can all remember those
youngsters for whom sports seemed such a natural environment, a
venue they could navigate with ease regardless the field or surface.
Talented young athletes who made all athletic endeavours appear
effortless, often rising to an elite level in multiple sports.
A grade 6 student at Pinecrest Public
School in Valley East, Jacob Smith is one of these athletes. Not
surprising, his competitive, driven nature appears to have very
early roots. “I can remember playing my first soccer game when I was
three or four – we were losing 11-0 and near the end of the game, I
scored our only goal”, he said. “I remember running by and high-fiving
all of our parents.”
A rep soccer player within the summer
months and track athlete at the elementary school level, Smith is
also a forward with the Reliable/Pinnacle Sports Minor Peewee AAA
Wolves and he is extremely decisive about his sporting preference.
“Hockey by far…I just like lacing up the
skates” notes Smith, adding that he fully expects to continue in
both competitive hockey and soccer for at least a few more years.
Self-assured by nature, the well-spoken 11 year-old is clearly in
his comfort zone on the ice, where his confidence is evident.
“I feel smart around the net – I feel
that if I get the puck, I’m pretty sure I can set-up a nice play.”
Given his offensive prowess, his choice of stars to emulate should
be obvious. “My favourite player right now is (Alexander) Ovechkin….it
was (Steve) Yzerman before he retired”, explains Smith.
Although he has played as both a
midfielder and striker with the Valley East ’95 boys team, his nose
for the net suggests an expected preference. “I like playing forward
and getting the ball up to me so I can go and score goals.” Still,
he carries an awareness through both sports of the importance of
“When you score, it might be a little
tap-in goal but when you set up a play, everybody is like “nice
assist, nice pass” acknowledges Smith, the eldest of two children in
Jacob Smith made the jump from the ranks
of the Valley East Rebels to playing “AAA” hockey for the first time
this year, although he has played against some of the same
competitors in previous spring hockey campaigns.
And the increased competition suits this
talented youngster just fine. “I don’t get discouraged – I get more
excited because I know I’m going to have to turn my game up a
notch.” Based on what we’ve seen so far, that notch is definitely
within his grasp.