The Ways of Ice

     In Photo: Ice Skater, Debi Thomas

     Once again, I've somehow been sucked into watching the U.S. Championships, Ladies Free Skate on NBC. Not by any peer pressure, but by the pure seduction of looking at people almost floating on air.

     This has been happening to me, since I was about 8 years old. The music. The commentary. Those moments of suspense, a.k.a. the jumps. Yes, mostly the exhilaration, nervousness, and anticipation of watching a skater do a jump like a Triple Salchow.

     This sport is so beautiful, and yet sometimes painful to watch. A mix of grace and brute. The ice skater is floating ever so gently, until his or her butt hits that hard ice, because of a jump that was miscalculated.

     And the moment that I always dread while watching figure skating on TV, happened tonight... repeatedly.

     I can't remember the name of the girl, I just watched, but I just learned a new fact today, via our ice skating commentator: If you're 5'7", you're considered tall as a female ice skater and will have a much more difficult time landing jumps.

     Which might explain why I watched this particular (5'7") young lady fall at least 3 times in her program. Agh! It broke my heart. But in true ice skating fashion, she quickly got back up and finished her program with a smile on her face. You could feel the anguish, but she wasn't going to quit. That wasn't an option.

     More than anything, not everyone is out to see you fail. I'm reminded of that when I watch ice skating. There's a collective sigh of sympathy in the crowd when an ice skater falls. Which tells me, the crowd was anticipating and hoping for the success of the skater throughout their entire performance.

     And although the peanut gallery may laugh at you when you fall, they will not have the last word, when you get back up again.

Wisdom's Knocking:

Though you fall, get back up again.