Skating, just like most jobs and sports, can get somewhat monotonous from time to time. It’s not that it is boring or that we don’t want to skate, it is just that sometimes we tend to forget to appreciate the beauty and the freedom of skating. We tend to overlook the magnificence of it especially when preparing for competitions, shows, testing, etc.
After an injury in high school that forced me to be off of the ice for months, it really struck me how important it was to have skating in my life. I felt lost. So lost that it felt like a huge piece of me was missing. As soon as I returned back to the ice, I swore to myself that I would never take skating for granted again. From that moment on, at the end of every session, I would do a layback in the middle of the ice and thank God for the ability to skate. In the middle of a spin might seem like an odd time to pray, but for me, that is when I felt, and still do feel, complete solitude.
Now that I am a coach, I don’t often to get to skate for myself. Because of this, I don’t get to leave the ice with that final moment of bliss. Instead I am gathering all of my things and other skaters jackets from the board and shuffling people off before the zamboni comes out. Without my prayer spin at the end of the session, I feel as though I have in a way disregarded my appreciation for the ice. I love coaching and motivating skaters and still have deep love for skating, but I have not “stopped and smelled the roses” per say. (Between the smells of hockey sweat and skater feet I don’t know how much anyone would really want to smell in a rink) That was until today. I coach an adult male skater who until this year has never stepped foot onto the ice. His appreciation and yearning to be knowledgeable about each basic position is so refreshing and inspiring. I am the one usually trying to inspire my skaters whether its to try a new spin, start competing, or reach for their goals. Today; however, my student inspired me and on an even deeper level than any skating element or competition. He re-sparked my thankfulness for our sport. He was skating around practicing by himself and when I came to him when it was time for his lesson, he stopped at the top of the rink and gazed across the ice with a look of elation across his face. With other skaters whizzing by and jumping all around, it was as if we were frozen in time for that split moment. “Isn’t it…beautiful?” he said as he continued to stare across the ice with such happiness gleaming across his face. “Its so beautiful, so white” he continued. I was taken back and felt as though we were in our world. With a deep inhale of happiness and gratitude I replied “It sure is.”