Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Different Breed

We are not your everyday athletes. We do not participate in your everyday oh-so-common sports. We are a different breed of sport. We do not settle for your three or four month seasons. No that is not good enough for us. We set the standards for sports dedication. For us diehards it is not about winning. No, that is just an added bonus that comes with the love of the sport. Yes Diehards, I am not speaking of your come quick, pure-talented athlete that picks it up with no actual sense of technique and goes on to win feeling like they accomplished the world and quit. No, not them because for them winning is everything.
For us though. It's about the feeling of going through your entire day; good or bad just knowing that it will soon get better. Knowing that we will slip our feet into those precious pieces of equipment. But that's not all, it's the feeling of quietness as you lace up your skates, tie them just right: not to tight, not to loose. If you must tie them to tight you are not yet a diehard. You have yet to master your equipment and truly figure how it works.
You realize this is your domain. Sure, there may be someone better, quicker, bigger at every aspect of the sport. But these are your skates. This is your get away. Yes a roller-rink, just barely getting by no longer jammed pack on friday and saturday nights like they use to be a few short decades ago. Yes this empty roller-rink dead with sound. Is all for you. Your struggles of the day mean nothing here because through your speed whether it be slow and steady or lightning fast will relinquish any thoughts of doubt.
You meet with your fellow diehards and you skate. No words or questions why because what ever the reason be it is irrelevant. We leave the questions to those who have yet to understand our delightful getaway.
We use our precious pieces of equipment to go fast. We do not wonder why. We do not think how we just act. We mean practice, yes, those are the better days. Because practice does not make perfect in our sport no sir. That is a myth. But yet perfect practice makes perfect. We love our practice. We love it because that is our time. We love our skates. We love to just go fast, not think just go fast. Therefore when we have the opportunity multiple times a week it becomes our favorite. So yes the sweat of practice is our favorite.
But then we take it to the next level because we are diehards. We cannot love our skates more. We take it outdoors. Yes our sport teaches us the natural beauty of the outdoors. Because you are no longer limited by size. No, the road goes on and on. The wind in your face is precious now. One of life's gifts. Because not only is it in your face, but you are producing it. You are the one creating the speed at which your are traveling to allow the wind to be in your face. Yes this is what is meant by beautiful. When life's struggles vanish when there cannot be a possible sign of disapproval. Yes the pure sound of nature mixed with simple thoughts of speed seem irreplaceable.
But then we still have our simple pleasures. When most love the smell of flowers that is to simple for us. No, although winning is not everything for us it is still our bonus. That would make a sanctuary where they award someone for being the fastest our garden. Yes a race is our garden. We take our first diehard step into the rink at the lovely hours of the morning 5, maybe 6AM and just indulge in the smells that seem so familiar. The smell of the floor coating yes, we breathe it in deep. The smell of the gun smoke, right after being fired for the start of a race, yes we breathe in deep. The smell of the traditional coffee, egg and cheese rink food, we breathe in deep. But that is not it. We listen and we listen carefully. We listen for it all. The sound of victory. No, we do not see victory we hear it. We hear the sounds of defeat and there are so many. We as diehards, no what both sound like having been there before. We hear the sound of fresh skin being left on the skating surface. Then we hurry to see it but it has happened to fast. We must focus our eyes on the afterthoughts. The brush burns and the lost skin. We as diehards, no what it feels like. We are not compelled to judge though, no we are not. We leave the judging of how bad one fall was against that of another to those who have not yet realized the level of pure diehardedness that we have reached. Yes, diehardedness may become a word when you realize the pure genius of our sport. We watch after hearing the sound of defeat as so many competitors will sit down frantically changing and switching equipment as if the equipment will suddenly make the athlete. No not us diehards. We know the athlete makes the equipment not the other way around. Yes we love these things. Nothing more nothing less. But we are diehards so we do not show up just to give our senses a treat. No we show up to allow our muscles to feel a burning sensation they have not felt since practice. Yes practice. We go and skate. We have not missed a practice therefore our diehard nature knows that we are in tiptop shape so we will prevail over our lesser competitors. Yes we are speedskaters. No need for explanation. Speedskaters.
We consider our sport to be precious as does the rest of the world. That is why even the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network cannot dare show us on there channel. No they rather stick to the simple sports of life, such as arm wrestling, spelling bees, and rock-paper-scissors competitions. Yes we are the new breed of athletes. We do not allow the simple ideas of seasons bother us. We manage our bodies year round. We forgive those who cannot understand but realize they could never manage to be a diehard speedskater.

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