In the last few days I’ve heard a lot of “soldier” stories, many more than usual. I wanted to take a moment to recognize the the commitment that many skaters have to their sport and to themselves. Even though they may not compete for podium positions, ever be mentioned when guessing who the next champ will be, or chase an Olympic dream, their passion for our sport is just as salient.
How many times have you been talking with a fellow skater and heard “had to take LOTs of Advil to get through that”, “feet are mangled, but I’ll skate again in few days”, “Coming off some bad road rash, but I’m skating again…”, etc. Over the past few days I’ve heard so many skaters talk about stuff like that this, and stuff that is much more intense, it all amazes (and inspires) me.
These are ordinary people who soldier through some of the worst pain, accidents, and stress you can imagine. All so that they can go back for more punishment at the hands of lactic acid. Of course there are rewards to skating, well beyond the simple benefits of an active life style; overcoming personal challenges, the intense feeling of freedom, the thrill of competition, and more.
Even though the rewards are many, they are not easily had. Think of the years of training to build up conditioning and technique to get the point where its just enjoyable. And along the way you are given the “opportunity” to overcome additional challenges such as injuries.
I’m sure there are many casual skaters who are casual exactly because of this issue. But I’ve heard so many skaters lately talk about the suffering they’ve gone through and are going through, and yet being committed to their sport and to themselves.
Sometimes I think I have it tough, but in the larger view, everyone has it tough, in one way or another, and for each person, their personal battles will always be more intense to them.
So, I want to take a moment to tip my helmet and give the nod to every skater, no matter what level they are at, who simply soldiers through and keeps skating. Know that you aren’t alone, and that in those times of struggle, I for one am cheering for you