The destination, no matter what it is, is nothing without the journey. We've had one heck of a journey. But, as always this is something we always expected, it just took longer then expected. The true destination you'll have to figure out yourself. It might lie somewhere in Italy or it might lie somewhere else entirely but that is something you'll have to figure out on your own. I appreciate you thanking everyone including myself that helped you get where you are today, as I truly believe you are nothing without those surrounding you. At the end of the day if you are completely satisfied with what you've done then okay, maybe the journey ends here. Deep down I hope there is a sense of urgency, something that still hasn't been fulfilled. Something that still leaves you unsatisfied.
The best thing I can tell you over the next few weeks is not to take advantage of it at all. To train and skate like it is your last chance. To always leave yourself wanting more.
Now, first off Kevin, you'll always be my little brother, and for that I'll never give up on you. Secondly, anyone who has spent time with us as athletes can see you are twice the athlete I'll ever be. My range of athleticism ends at skating, that's what I can do. I'm average at best at everything else. You're bigger, stronger, and possess more raw power then I do, you just don't know how to use most of it.
Next, when you look back on things there is a lot you are forgetting or failing to remember. You remember my successes but not my failures. Maybe it's because by the time you really started to care about skating I started to win. Maybe you don't remember the three year stretch I never won as much as a league meet. Maybe you can't remember how hard I always was on myself every time I lost. Maybe you don't remember 05 when I sat and cried because I didn't qualify for a final I thought I should have won. Or 06 when I came so close but failed to make that team. Or 07 when I didn't medal in the 300 how pissed off I was, how I thought my championship was over before it even started. Or indoor that same year, 2007, when I lost for the first time all year at nationals in the first final. Remember all those years I skated Trexlertown and got whooped? I would finish two or three laps behind the winners every time. Surely you can remember the many times I threw my helmet, what you might not know is it was never because I was mad at the person that beat me or anyone else but myself. I hated myself for losing. Losing never mattered to me until I won, then I couldn't stand losing. I would let a single loss, even from a league meet. Eat me up, I would remember it at every practice. I would use it to make me keep going. I would tell myself I would lose again if I didn't keep going, or I had to train harder then everyone else in order to be better then them.
If you haven't learned it by now we are not the same. My drive has always come from my hatred for failing. My confidence has always come from my strength in training. A lot of my successes have been because I couldn't face myself if I lost or if I failed. Remember in 2007 when I qualified for that first jr world team? I was like the last one to make it and I skated 3 sometimes 4 or 5 times a day doing intervals and sprints all day long. Remember how the only thing that kept me going day after day was the thought of everyone being better then me? That year at trials I got 5th or 6th in the 300 but somehow at residency and worlds I was able to run as fast or faster then everyone else.
I just deleted a few paragraphs because I thought it was getting to far away from the topic. Basically Kevin, I want you to know you have a lot to still be accomplished. There's no doubt in my mind you have the physical tools to be a better skater then I could ever become. My greatest strength has always been between my ears. And once you figure that part out you'll start to see it. Just remember this isn't the end of the road, so although it's nice to thank everyone there are still tasks at hand.. even right now in the next few weeks. Remember over the next few weeks you need to train your mind as much as your body, get the necessary amount of rest and eat well. And of course, remain confident in yourself at all times..even in moments of doubt and train hard. And whatever you do, don't lose your passport.
Sincerely your brother in life and wheels,