When you figure skate, the question people ask most frequently is, “Do you fall down?” The next question they ask is, “Does it hurt?” Let’s face it. We don’t want to fall. We don’t want to fail. The older we get, the more cautious we become – and for good reason. We want a guarantee the benefit will outweigh any pain. Success becomes shaped by fear.
LEARNING TO FALL
Well, the answer is “yes”. I fall down…a lot. Sometimes, it hurts. Instead of falling, I see it as pushing to grow. When I first began figure skating, I had no idea what I was doing. Falling was scary. The goal was to fall as little as possible. Once I got some success under my blades, the falls got bigger. Those were some of the hardest falls. The universe was ensuring I wanted it enough. I remember lying on the ice looking up as an entire rink of skaters surrounded me overhead. But, as the bangs and bruises healed, I began to learn how to fall smarter. Spills that once took me off the ice for days or weeks would be no big deal. I popped right back up. It is amazing what a bit of focus, determination, and adrenaline shakes off in the moment. It feels like there are fewer falls these days. In reality, there might even be more. I probably just think of them differently.
Some of the biggest lessons in falling have come from skating pairs. Though my pair partner and I rack up our share of spills, neither of us had fallen during a performance or competition. It was something we both dreaded and feared. Yet, we knew the more we went forward, probability was not in our favor. Each competition brought with it a shadow lurking. Would this be the time? What if we fall?
THEN IT HAPPENED
During the last competition of the season, we were just finishing up our program. Only one more element remained: the pair spin. The end was in sight. We had made it this far skating clean. Then…it happened. We TOTALLY crashed into each other. The result was a WWF-worthy body slam to the ice. A massive, hollow, ominous thud echoed through the rink.
What happened next was unexpected. We laughed. The world continued on just as it had before. As we scrambled back up with big grins for our bow, the audience cheered. It really was not the mortifying experience we had once thought. In fact, it was kind of freeing. Now we knew there was nothing to dread. Without concern for the consequences, we could push ourselves further. We also discovered another reason the bruises were not so bad. We had each other.
There will be falls along the way. Surround yourself with those ready to take a tumble. Celebrate the people that get back up with you.
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