Can't Believe I Made It

January 17, 2011
I step out on the solid glass and glide forward. The cold seeps through my equipment and hits my skin. It stings my lungs as I inhale. I lean forward and let my skates go. The wind whips through my hair and lashes at my face. I listen to the music my skates make. The smell reminds me of the last eight years at the ice rinks. As I take my second lap, I relax – I am home.
All my years of skating have added up to this. Here I am–selected to be with the elite of Minnesota. I reflect onthe preparation for this, all the work-outs. I reminisce about when my mom said “You made it.”

I never thought it was possible. From happiness, tears trickle down my face.The Junior Festival. I couldn’t fathom making it. But I surprised myself.

My hockey career taught me to keep trying and that I can surprisemyself is the best reward. The ice rink—my home–is a mentor for life. This is what I want – to teach children to follow their passion. I volunteer with practices and coach younger skaters. I help them have the same passion for the ice as I do.

“Come on, Maggie. You can do it,” I cheered as she attempts to skate from one board to another. Maggie was a new skater and was attending “Learn to Skate” at the ice center where I work. She held on to my hands as if they were the last thing from falling down a steep cliff. I worked with her for the full class time – never letting go. I wanted her to get comfortable with skating, without get dependent on me. So I let go of one hand. “No,” she bellowed. “I don’t want to fall.”

“I will be right here and if you fall, you will learn to get right back up.” With a nod of her head, we were off again.

Before I knew it, Maggie was skating with no assistance. “You are doing it all by yourself!” Looking at me with a huge grin,she fell—forgetting to concentrate on skating. “That is okay, Maggie. Now show me how to get up!” Maggie slid her feet underneath her, propped herself up with one hand and stood up. Clapping for her, we were off again. Maggie always left the ice with a smile and when I would see her, a huge grin would appear on her face.

This is what I want. I want to teach children, whether they be six on the ice or sixteen in the classroom. I want to teach children to keep reaching for new heights and that they can surprise themselves. I know with hard work, they also will earn and develop pride and confidence.

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