Thursday, October 1, 2015

Blast Off...

It’s that time again. The season has begun. With it comes a cacophony of voices similar to the screeching sounds reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

Skating boards are aflutter. Social media hangs on every tweet or post. The flock has returned to the nest and they are looking for the next new leader to take them, in wedge formation, headlong into infinity and beyond, or at least into this second half of the quadrennial leading to 2018.

Now that I’m on the outside looking in (or is it the other way around), I find myself concerned for the fledglings in the flock. Up until now, they have flown somewhat under the radar, protected by Regional competition and the occasional foray into the wild blue yonder – meaning across one border or another to sample what it is like to fly in the Jetstream; to test their wings.

However, once they’ve come of age, once they’ve landed at Nationals and earned their position in the wedge, the air becomes decidedly more rarified. The scrutiny becomes more intense. There are many people offering advice, observing, criticizing and pontificating based on every scrap of video posted on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
The cacophony rises and falls with every practice, every run-through and every warm up competition at a local rink. New leaders are chosen and discarded by the minute, by the jump; by the spin; by the music or by the belief that a coach will somehow bestow magical flying powers to boots and blades and mystically infuse the chosen with interpretive talents yet to be observed.

Let’s come down from the clouds for a moment. The fledglings are just that. For the most part, they are young. They may have athletic prowess that seems beyond their tender years, but they don’t have the flight time, or the experience with the tremendous amount of pressure born of unreasonable expectation. Sure, some will shine – for a while. Some will soar. Some will be grounded for mechanical failure. Some will, unfortunately, crash and burn. Learning to fly takes practice; it takes time to hone your skills as the pilot of your internal and physical ship.

My hope for this season is that those who place sometimes inappropriate pressure born of unrealistic expectations find within themselves some level of tolerance for those learning to navigate the sometimes not-so-friendly skies. After all, you’re not the pilot. You’re not the co-pilot. You're the flight attendant. So, like those of us who have lived this for so long, fasten your seatbelt, observe the no smoking (from your ears) signs, and if the oxygen mask drops from the ceiling, take a DEEP BREATH.

It’s going to be a long and bumpy ride to PyeongChang.

Make sure you know what the flock is going on before you blast off.

No comments:

Post a Comment