Speed Skating Race Day

Yesterday was Son No. 1′s first speed skating meet of the year.  It didn’t go quite the way we thought it would.  But damn, this child of mine makes me proud.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this parenting gig it’s that my children have taught me more than I will ever teach them.  If it wasn’t for Google I’d be completely screwed.

This was an ability meet. Races are run in order, starting with the Alpha (A) group, going all the way through to Mike (M).  Races are grouped together based on times which means boys and girls skate together as do skaters of different ages.

The Alphas were, of course, amazing. They skate around the rink at high speeds, making it look effortless. But it was the Charlie group that had me in awe.

The group was a mix of younger skaters and Masters (if you don’t know, Masters is code for ‘older skaters’ like me). It was a 777 m skate which is seven laps around the rink.  As soon as the race started, it was clear there was one skater who wasn’t as good as the rest.  He had a hard time doing crossovers (damn you, crossovers! *shakes fist in air*) and was behind from the start. I pointed him out to Son No. 1.  “Look at him.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to go out and do what he’s doing?” I asked.  Son No. 1 didn’t get it.  So I explained how it takes a great strength of character to put yourself out there like that.

This skater probably knew he would be the last in his group and yet he was out there doing it anyway.

I didn’t take my eyes off him the entire time. In my head I was silently cheering him on, my heart ready to burst with happiness for him.  As he crossed the finish line, I had tears in my eyes.

The truth is, I have a handy dandy little excuse to not put myself out there.  When I began speed skating I made Speed Skating Son a promise that I wouldn’t participate in any meets for a year. But the honest-to-god-strike-me-down-if-I’m-lying truth is that I’m glad I have this excuse because if I hadn’t made that promise to my son, I still wouldn’t have signed up for that meet.

In my last class our teacher asked if anyone was going to the ability meet and I had raised my hand since I’d be taking Speed Skating Son to participate.  She asked if I would be racing.

Picture me guffawing with a shocked expression on my face, shaking my head back and forth.

It never would have occurred to me to sign up because I’m not good.  Yet here was this man doing it. He signed up and skated his heart out.

I’m always “go out there and try”.  And for the most part I do but I know in my heart I couldn’t have done what he did.  It’s important for me to teach my kids it’s not about being the best but trying your best.  This man was the epitome of that.

Son No. 1 and I watched each of this man’s races and we both cheered him on.  I don’t know his name but he skated in the Charlie group.

And he’s kinda my hero.

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About Sharon

Sharon DeVellis is a mother, wife and writer who can uncork a wine bottle in less than 10 seconds but buys twist-offs for emergencies. She’s currently in therapy to stop talking about herself in third person.
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19 Responses to Speed Skating Race Day

  1. Pingback: My Hero: The Second Edition | Speed Skating Mom

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  3. Dee Brun says:

    I like this man…and I like you for pointing him out to your son…xo

  4. Kia says:

    Aww Sharon you are such a sweet person…I just love ya!!! I would be cheering for that man too…and one day I’ll be cheering for you when you do your first ability race. You kinda my hero :)

  5. rosemary says:

    Go for it, Girl. I loved this post. My eyes got prickly too just thinking about the determination and courage of the Charlie group. You’ll continue to get better and make progress…and if not better, at least exercised and healthy.

  6. Nicole says:

    That’s awesome! I love it – it’s so often the journey, right?

  7. Samantha says:

    I need to remind myself of this a lot, that there is victory in the doing, in the completing, and not just in the winning. Thank you for sharing, it’s a good lesson for us all.

  8. Kaari Cox says:

    I love your attitude about cheering him on, because I’ve been that man many times and in many different sports.

    Now it’s your turn! Are there any masters meets in your area? That would be a great place to try racing…masters tend to be incredibly supportive of newcomers, and then you could assure your son that you wouldn’t be racing in the same meet with him…

    • Sharon says:

      Note how I’m completely ignoring your question ;)

      There’s a masters coming up in a couple of weeks but I’m going to pass (in keeping my the promise I made to my son). I may do a meet in Toronto in the spring. We shall see….we shall see.

  9. Okay this is just awesome. I don’t even know you and I’m mentally cheering you on! GO GO GO GO!!!!

  10. Judy Ranieri says:

    Love this story Sharon! I’ll be cheering you on when you race next year:)

  11. Erica Ehm says:

    Be careful what you wish for! Cuz I know this time next year, you’re going to be that man. And we’ll all be cheering for you.

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