Our coach encouraged us to return to the locker-room between heats so we’d keep warm. But none of us wanted to miss the races of our fellow club members. We cheered each one on, especially the slower ones. It was great fun. We’ve got some first class club members and to watch them fight for first place was exhilarating. We agonized with the girl that skated a great race to fall just before the win. I fell once too, and skated the last lap alone – the important thing was to finish the race. Each time I skated by the team stand, I heard our coach’s voice, “You’re doing well, Marianne – keep going!” It was a vocal energy drink. I crossed the finish line raising my arms in triumph. I’d done it!
The best part of the day for me was after the competition, when I went to greet my family in the stands. Each one of them had a big smile, from the three-year-old grandsons, to their parents, my husband and his sister. “We’re so proud of you!” they said. I don’t think I could have been happier if I’d won a gold medal. I’d come in almost last, being so new to the sport, but they acted as if I’d been first.
Six weeks ago I heard about the short-track club in Schaffhausen. Growing up in northwestern Canada, I’d been on skates since a child. I love to skate, love the speed and the rush. I’m proof that 56 is not too old to join a sports club for the first time in your life. And not too old to learn firsthand how important even the youngest fan is to morale!