Meena Peterson may not have been the tallest or fastest player on the ball diamond, but her dedication to the Under-12 Napanee Express this summer was unrivaled.
Her devotion didn’t go unnoticed as she was awarded the Provincial Women’s Softball Association’s Bayleigh Beatty Spirit Award at their year end banquet, held last month.
A native of Kingston, Peterson came to the Express this past summer and immediately endeared herself to her teammates.
“She worked her butt off this year to earn spots in those key moments,” said her coach, Dave Herrington, who nominated her for the award. “She made some great plays in the field, hitting came tenfold by the time we got to provincials.”
His submission impressed the PWSA executive, who chose Peterson for the award out of nearly 550 girls who were registered for the U-12 level across Ontario.
As good as she was on the field however, it was her contributions from the dugout that really stood out.
“She was always cheering people on, by the end of games she couldn’t talk,” said Herrington.
No more was her heart on display than when she broke her wrist while tracking a fly ball during tryouts for the U-14 club. For most players, that would mean the end of tryouts. Peterson however isn’t like most players.
“It was hard not being able to throw the ball,” said Peterson. “I kept trying (with a cast on) but the coach wouldn’t let me.”
When it became clear she couldn’t physically continue to tryout, she didn’t sulk. Instead she started cheering on her teammates.
“It’s fun,” she said of rallying her teammates to do their best by cheering from the dugout. “Most the time it makes them have fun as well when they’re playing.”
Even though she couldn’t show what she could do on the field, her heart and dedication was enough for the coaching staff to award her a spot on next year’s U14 Express team.
Her wrist now healed, she’ll keep busy throughout the winter as a member of the Napanee Crunch hockey team, where she’s just as vocal as supportive of her teammates.