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.