I am an Adult Figure Skater (54), who skates with only younger (mostly teenage and young college) skaters. I had to get over the fact that I was not going to fit in, regardless of my growing skating ability. Although, it would be nice to have other adults to skate with, right now that is not the case. So, why do I skate? Is it to fit in; make friends; to be part of a team; for exercise; to be able to go to competitions etc.? Actually, I skate for myself. Figure Skating is so embedded in my soul that I cannot imagine a life without it. I had to get over the feelings of, “What do you think you are trying to prove here?” I have to look pass what I perceive are judgments from other people. Having Traumatic Brain Injury, let’s face it, I am a little weird anyway. Then to add Figure Skating on top of that, yikes! This lady is nuts.
Yes! I am crazy enough to think I belong out on that ice just like everyone else. I do not care if you are 5, 50 or a 100. I do not care if you are thin, fat, short, tall or what ever kind of body type, gender or sexual preference. Ice does not discriminate – people do! Ice does not cut down, put down or call us names, bully us or try to shame us – people do! Ice does not tell us you are too old to try this sport – people do. Wouldn’t it be great if we, as people could use that energy to encourage others instead of causing others pain? Do you have any idea how much courage it takes for someone to get out on that ice and skate, especially if they are overweight trying to get in shape? Do you have any idea what kind of resolve it took, for someone like me to get out on that ice for the first time in years, not having any feeling in my left leg, hands or feet? The first year I was back, I spent most of my time crashing on the ice than the time I skated on top of it. People laughed and to be perfectly honesty, some still do. But, I do not skate for them. I skate for myself. As an Adult Figure Skater, there are so many amazing opportunities available, and a great big world out there to be a part of. But it is up to me to do the work. It is up to me to get beyond the naysayers and not allow myself to let them pull at my self esteem. Listen, you and I, we rock! We have the courage, the strength and the fortitude to get up and get going. It doesn’t mean it is easy. This is one of the hardest sports on the planet. Yet, here we are. We lace our skates up and we go out and practice; take those tests in front of judges as our nerves most of the time work against us – but no matter how many times we have to take the same test – we do until we pass. Why? Because we are not quitters. How many of you have suffered illnesses and injuries and have had to work through the agony of missing the ice? Yet, you still have the determination to get back out there after you have had a setback? How many of you feel you are overweight and still, you go out there and do something good for your own health and well being? You, are the real heroes and by God, please do not let anyone ever tell you otherwise. Do it for yourself, for the love of the ice. The next time someone tries to shame you, love them anyway. You are too busy loving yourself and the ice to worry about what other people think.
God Bless You,