Saturday, October 12, 2013
Looking Forward..The Things Doug Wilson Taught Me Without Even Knowing It
I'm blessed with great friends. One of them is former ABC Wide World of Sports producer Doug Wilson, who has a new book out that you really should read called "The World Was Our Stage." I officially met Doug some time ago at this "little" hotel where I work in Colorado Springs. He was there with ABC Sports covering Skate America 2001, that's the SK8A where Michelle Kwan parted ways with her longtime and iconic coach Frank Carroll. It was just months before the Olympics in Salt Lake and Michelle decided to go it alone. That story is well chronicled, and really not the point to this tale.
Doug and I email back and forth a bit. I remember the first one I received from him that was signed "Looking Forward, Doug." I remember thinking to myself, "Looking forward to seeing me again? Looking forward to writing another email?" It wasn't until recently that I realized in order to look forward sometimes you have to look back - not to live in the past, but to appreciate everything the future holds. I'm not sure if that's what Doug meant, but it's my take on it.
Regionals are going on right now and I've been thinking back to some of the ones we attended over the years. There are the nerves, the endless cups of Starbucks, eating on the fly at fast food restaurants and at overpriced arena vendors; early morning and late night practices. It's a wonder we survived.
I look back now and think about some of the characters we met, and how many skaters and parents dropped off over the years for so many reasons. There were the twin brothers who loved to intimidate other skaters during practice sessions. I wonder where they are now. There was the family who invested in a RV the size of a ship so they could drive their skater around the country to every competition possible because, "He'll be Olympic Champion." I suspect that RV is long gone from skating. I know the family is. There was the "big kid" with the BIG jumps. He always competed with gloves, even when you weren't allowed to. He was kind of a "rock star" at Juvenile. There was the kid whose dad loved to get you in a corner and then make really horrible comments about your kid's skating. His skater did shows for awhile. I think he was Goofy.
There were the Darth Vader Dads and the Dragon Lady Moms. There were the the stalker parents. There were stolen bags, missing skates, changing partners more time than a square dance. Again, it's a wonder we survived. It's a wonder anyone survives.
Those of us who did survive are now great friends. Coaches, judges, parents and skaters; after nearly a frozen quarter century of doing this, we are part of a club that no one can understand until they've been there. I've chronicled it for you since 2009, but it's difficult to explain unless you've lived it.
Now, as we begin this final competitive year I find myself looking back at all the people, places and things that brought us to this moment in time. And, like Doug Wilson, I can honestly say I'm looking forward. Thank you, Doug, and hat's off to you for making me understand the meaning - even if it isn't what you intended, it is what I now understand.
Skating Mom, Communicator and Grateful Friend