Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hey! I’m Peyton Kehler, a 15-year-old basketball enthusiast. I am a diehard New York Liberty and Golden State Warriors fan. I’ve played organized basketball for five years and used to play softball for eight as a back catcher and shortstop. However, leading the basketball team as a point guard will always have my heart. I will, and have always enjoyed any and every sport that was introduced to me, even those I just got a glimpse of from gym class. I spend my time listening to music or podcasts, putting shots up, shoe shopping, taking polaroid pictures, and occasionally playing some 2K with my puppy on my lap.
I am passionate about equality and for equal representation of women in the sports world. I am driven by the direct inequality that is shown to women daily, especially in the basketball realm, and I am determined to make a change. Some examples of this inequality are the NCAA training space incident that took place last March, the Phoenix Mercury being kicked out of their home arena during playoffs, the lack of social media presence for college ball, and so many more than I can count. The poor treatment has me inspired to make a difference. I dream to be known for my fight towards this inequality and to be a key factor in improvement.
What is something you’re proud of that is outside of sport?
I am proud of my involvement politically in my community as I just recently wrapped up my term as the Junior Youth Member of my local council (RM of Hanover council). I took a risk during my term and spoke up, requesting a change in the title of Reeve, to Mayor as a move to modernize my community. If you’re interested, you can read more about that here.
I am also proud of the community I have built around myself. I am flooded with friends and family who bring out the best in me and encourage me to be the best version of myself. I couldn’t be more grateful for them.
What sparked your passion for sport? How can it be shared with others?
My passion for sports was prominent as I was growing up. I have always been an energetic kid, often with energy to spare. Even though there was no sports presence (other than watching) in my family, they encouraged me to do what I loved. I was given my first basketball net around the age of seven, and my first softball mit around the same time. I was thrilled to be around an atmosphere of other ecstatic, energetic people who shared a passion for movement and activity. I first attended a basketball camp my church put on at the age of ten and realized that this was my sport. The sport where I find belonging.
Even now as I get older, and am slightly slowing down, the passion has changed. I am now passionate about being a part of a minority in being an athletic woman, being a good teammate, and that thrill of having people watch and count on you. My passion was shared when in middle school, I was stuck recruiting girls because we didn’t have enough for a team. I managed to convince eight girls to join me, and to this day all eight of them play high school hoops as well. They’ve felt the thrill, and agree that it is like no other.
What advice do you have for parents, coaches, or sport administrators to improve inclusion in sport?
To me as a young athlete, I am always inspired by female representatives. The more testimonials I heard, the more relatable the stories were to me, the more I felt like I belonged. I loved watching women shake the world by being unstoppable in their sport. Women like Sabrina Ionescu, Abby Wambach, Serena Williams, Christine Sinclair, and many others, inspired me to strive to be my best. I stopped idolizing just men and started to dream of being the next Sabrina Ionescu, the next Sue Bird, the next Diana Taurasi, the next game-changer.
So, I think the best thing we can do as women athletes is raise awareness, and have a female presence for other young women. Having a female coach, or even just a role model was a critical moment for me. It showed me that I belong, proved to me that I have what it takes. This exact thing is all I could wish upon other young, developing female athletes.
5 words that best describe me are: