The Ice Welcomes Me Every Time I Fall...


... thus far, a joke regarding my skating ability. Once written down, something else. I had to read it back to myself a few times. Something about it sounded different in my head. It didn’t read like the self-deprecating joke that I’m used to hearing myself spew. It wasn’t a sound as much as it was a feel. Like a ping, or that “thwap” from a flick in the head. Slightly startling. Something from my antagonistic subconscious, no doubt. A proverbial “duh.”

The ice is cold and intimidating. It can be vast or crowded. Fast or slow. Smooth or rough. One thing you can count on it for is being hard. Sounds a lot like life.

What a sport to help you learn that lesson. And how true it is. The ice really does always welcome you. It’s always willing to give you a bump or a bruise. It’s always willing to trip you up while you’re picking up speed. It’s always there to remind you to get back up with a cold hard embrace.

It’s also there to support you without expectation. It doesn’t ask when the last time you skated was, or why you’re skating slower than others. It doesn’t ask why you keep falling down. It doesn’t care that the more it gets used, the more it’s carved up by steel. It always welcomes you.

Lately, I haven’t been skating as much as I’d like. My get up and go seems to have gotten up and gone without me. “Life stuff” has been seemingly unrelenting. The more time that goes by, the harder it is to get back to the ice.

Just lugging a hockey bag to the car, 30-minute drive to the rink, suiting up, walking from the locker room to the ice and taking that first stride out. That takes commitment. If you haven’t put on hockey pads before, it’s an effort. There’s a good amount of them and it gets more challenging the more you’re wearing. Lots of chances to make excuses why not to skate.

Today while sitting at my desk, I wrote that expression down and all of a sudden it switched. The ice welcomes me every time I fall. I’m welcomed. I don’t have to explain where I’ve been. I don’t have to prove that my absence was worthy or not.

All I have to do is get out there and skate hard, whatever that means that day. And the ice will give me exactly what I need. And I will likely give it a face-to-face thank you.

See ya out there!

 - MM


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