Good Luck to all the Olympians in Sochi!
“Faster As A Master” Book Intro Part 2
We all want to be great. As I get older I want to be great again. Happy, loved, healthy, that is what I aspire to. To be whole in body, mind, and spirit, is the reward. We are more capable than we give ourselves credit.
Competing as a youngster from age 12 till 19, I achieved a great deal in the 1960s and 1970s. After winning a few competitions as a long track ice speed skater, I was on the US national team from 1974 through 1976. My younger brother Bart made 3 Olympic teams, 1976, 1980, and 1984. Bart is a 2 time Olympic Gymnastics Champion. My youngest brother Mike won the first national medal in our family in short track speed skating when he was age 13. I am very proud of my brothers and their accomplishments as they are of mine.
When I did not making the Olympic team in 1976, I was devastated. I worked harder than anyone, I deserved to be on that team that went to Innsbruck, Austria. Years later I can now look back and see that I trained myself into the ground. Athletes call it over-training.
Discouraged by the failure, I amputated that part of my life for 22 plus years. As a much older and hopefully wiser adult I returned to the sport that I loved. Opening up old wounds from my past was inevitable. Fear had held me back for decades. Was I ready to deal with the memory of my past? I had to find out, or those very deep wounds would never completely heal, and I would never be quite whole. Cautious about the pitfalls of my past, treading lightly as I returned, I decided making the same mistakes was not an option. Time heals wounds, but it also hardens scabs. Fear of more suffering was very real. Pulling off the bandage was going to hurt. Healing from the inside, from down deep was the only answer. The core of my being was screaming for help.
My mother had died from cancer the year before and I was still having a tough time accepting it and needing relief. I went through the five stages of grieving for her death as well as many other hurts in my life. Doing the work to heal from the inside was my task. Drowning my pain was not possible anymore; I had to face it. Going back to the old way of thinking was not an option. Striving for answers, from my youth, from midlife, from a broken marriage. How could I move forward?
Not sure what was around the corner, but willing to address my humanness, I knew my very survival was at stake. By returning to speed skating, this sport that has brought me much pleasure and anguish, I would ultimately be journeying toward wholeness.
My need to achieve was born in a very fertile environment, a combination of wanting approval by my parents and sibling rivalry. Was my struggle about the external achievement or self acceptance? Survival for me depended on what I was about to discover.
Ready to tackle my past, the time was right to do this work and start healing. The tangible evidence of my extraordinary achievement in speed skating is visible. What is unseen, and more important, is the internal work of healing the wounds of my past.