Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Short Stop - The Best Present of All

It was something I wasn't expecting, though I'm not really sure why. There I was, sitting in my living room eating takeout Chinese and sharing casual conversation with my wonderful husband and two skaters. As we talked, time compressed. The conversation was between friends and family; it was like no time had passed. But a short lifetime had passed. I looked into the faces of these two people who are now adults. They shared stories and memories. We said a lot of, "Do you remember?"

As we stored the leftovers, I stopped to think about what makes this sport - and most sports - so very special. This is a fraternity of friends who have grown up as companions and competitors. They are a special family of brothers and sisters who spent their formative years learning about themselves and the world through competitive sport. Now, they have grown up and gone on. But when they congregate, when they gather from all points of the globe to share their life experiences, they are still family. Some are still skating, either competitively or in shows. Some are coaching; some have exchanged their blades for business degrees; a surprising number are in med school. Yet, when they find one another, whether it is for an hour or a day, they move easily back into the comfort of the home they all shared for so long; the comfort of shared experiences and lasting friendships.

Skating is about discipline. It teaches so much more than jumps and spins. It teaches about coping with the twists and turns of life, too. Skating teaches an understanding and acceptance of who you are, and who your friends are. Ultimately, skating is not exclusive; it is inclusive. If you are a new parent in the sport, please remember this. In the heat and passion of competition, know that the here-and-now is just that. What truly matters is what is ahead,as well as what has gone before. Those are the six walls of a perfect box that encompass the best present of all in this sport: Lasting friendships. That is a gift that is truly priceless.

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