|Ice Network Interview MP3|
It was Tuesday, June 20, around 7PM. My husband, Allen, was driving. I was sitting in the back seat of the car as we drove away from the Colorado Springs airport, heading home with our son. The conversation went something like this:
Me - I saw that you did an Ice Talk interview for Ice Network with Nick McCarvel. It's supposed to air tomorrow?
Jeremy - Yeah, I think so. (pause) Uh, you probably should know that I announced my retirement. It just kind of slipped out...
Me - That's interesting.
(A moment of silence ensued followed by a backseat Happy Dance)
And so it went. There was a sudden panicked realization that a LOT of key people probably needed to know about this: Coaches, officials, family, friends, U.S. Figure Skating (though we "assume" they already knew at that point if they had previewed the segment).
There was a flurry of activity and some continuing conversation about "what's next." To be honest, I don't even remember all of what was discussed, other than that making a public statement was kind of like graduating from college and looking out over the sea of faces, caps and gowns and feeling alone in your thoughts as you contemplate an uncertain future. After all, for the past two-plus decades, you had structure. You had places to be on time; a schedule that was unrelenting. You knew where you were going and what was expected of you - and what you expected of yourself. Now, with one short sentence, it all changed. All that was left seemed like a void in front of you; a vast sea of nothingness.
Of course, that's overly third act of La Traviata dramatic. The feeling, however, is quite palpable.
The wonderful interview aired on Ice Network June 23, giving us all an extra day to come to grips with our new reality. For me, it was probably easier. I had been quite vocal about my readiness to move from the frozen tundra of competitive skating. I'd even written several blogs that were intended to be the final word of "Life on the Edge of Skating."
Then I listened to the interview - much of it being about our family, and about me as a skating mom. Jeremy talked about all of us telling him that we would be supportive no matter what he chose to do. But to hear him state it was very different from having Allen, Jeremy's sister Gwen, and me say those exact same words.
I'll admit it - I misted up. Well, okay, I cried. We are an emotional clan, so that should be no surprise to anyone who knows us, or has observed us in the stands at competitions.
In a brief 20 minutes, Jeremy put a period at the end of a more than 20-year sentence so he could begin writing his own new chapter in the sport. Because of that, I had a feeling I needed to write one more chapter myself. The only difference was that, this time, mine would truly close the book.
After all, I began this chronicle in August of 2009. It was intended as a diary of my experiences and observations as a skating mom writing about my personal experiences in hopefully an intelligent, enlightening, mostly lighthearted manner. I wanted to take readers through our very personal adventures, ups-and-downs, giant steps and a few missed-steps in the sport that has consumed nearly 29 consecutive years of our lives.
I did that.
No apologies, except for the things I could have said but didn't along the way. Now, those things are best left unsaid. They serve no great purpose anyway, other than to make me feel better. I'll simply leave this statement as a "gesture" of goodwill aimed at those who more than earned it over the years.
NOW we move on, each in our own direction. I'm truly grateful to oh-so-many people who helped us along the way; those who guided us, and even those who were misguided. We learned from every experience, and isn't that what life should be about?
I hope that "Life on the Edge of Skating" finds a home in cyberspace for a long time. I hope that what we have experienced as a family, and what I have shared as a skating mom, will resonate with those who are new to the sport. Some things don't change in our world; they are universal truths, even if the individual experiences are as different as every skater who dreams a dream, and every parent who dares to follow. I hope that there will continue to be new readers who find value in what I've written, and who feel free to pass those thoughts along to others coming along in this sport. After all, we are a small, close-knit and slightly dysfunctional frozen family, bound together by a sheet of ice and three-sixteenths of an inch of steel. Find your path - with kindness, civility and, most of all, love of this incredible sport that makes the most difficult look easy.
Now, I bid not au revoir, but à bientôt. Like my son, though this book is closed, I plan on being around supporting skating until I cannot stand - or find words to write. It's what I do. It's what I love, along with all of you who have joined me on this journey.
May the Force be with you always.