Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Real Perseverance & Fortitude

No skating yesterday or today; but I have wanted to blog about this for a while...

I often title my posts "Perseverance". In some ways this is a "fallback" title when I don't know what else to say; it's also an expression of hope and trust that all the work I do is indeed paying off. My mom used to remind me that college (and by extension, anything worth doing) is 90% perseverance and only 10% ability. I sometimes describe my skating as the triumph of perseverance over ability; I'm not being self-deprecating when I do this, it's pretty much the truth. I'm okay with that, usually.

The wonderful thing about skating is that it's all about the individual. Oh sure, there are competitions, but as we all know there's nothing you can do about the others in the competition, you can only do your best; there's no "opponent." The annoying thing about skating is that it's all about the individual :-). My success or failure is entirely up to me, my abilities, my skills, my drive and desire. Sometimes it is indeed frustrating to see others, who've been skating for less time than I have, outpacing my progress even though I skate more than they do and, I think, work harder. I'm talking about adults, not kids, by the way! Still, there's nothing I can do about that, I can only play the hand I'm dealt and do the best I can. It's just the way it goes.

So -- perseverance and fortitude. Whenever I get a little proud of myself and how hard I work, I only have to look around the rink and see examples of people who work harder than I do and put even more of themselves into their skating. I am particularly reminded of a couple of younger skaters who I see at practice, trying, falling, trying, falling. I'm not sure when (if) I get to that point (working on jumps, especially doubles in this instance) that I will have the perseverance and fortitude to try, and fall, and try, and fall, over and over again like that. I guess I'll find out.

I had a particularly striking example of real fortitude on Wednesday at the public session. There was a girl there -- I'd guess late teens or early twenties. At first when I saw her I thought she had her arms tucked inside her shirt from the cold -- but on looking closer I realized this girl had no arms! And there she was, out on the ice, skating. Going fast? No. But on the ice by herself, not hugging the wall and not timid. The next time I think I'm all that, I'll try to remind myself that I would not have the guts she displayed, were I in her place.


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