Remarkable life lessons from my speed skating

Short Track Champion Grandma!

Short Track Champion Grandma!

After Short Track (speed skating) training on Saturday afternoons I generally stop by to visit little Emma, our now month-old granddaughter. Her four-year-old twin brothers are still young enough to be impressed by my skating outfit, especially my club jacket. When we talk about my skating, their question is always: “Did you win, Grandma?”

Last Saturday I tossed their comment into the locker room conversation. “You definitely win in your age category!” laughed one of the older skaters. “You always win in the Grandma category!” said another. Angelika, our trainer, said: “You win against yourself.” At the time I thought the comments were nice ways of glossing over the fact that I am generally one of the slowest in our club. It’s true I am the oldest woman by quite a stretch (we have a couple guys over 50 that have been on the team for some years). I am the only Grandma. Considering that I only joined the club one year ago, the comments were all valid. Winning is relative. Christian’s speed and strength easily make him the real winner of our club. Michi is next in speed. His four-year-old son Ben skates with us too. Ruefully he tells us that Ben’s goal to be faster than Christian. A person has to have something to aim towards! I aim to at least stay as fast as Andre, or beat him once in awhile. It’s becoming harder as he trains more intensively. Like Ben though, I need someone faster than myself to spur me on to improvement. Every time I get a little better, I win again, against myself.

On Wednesday I stopped at the twins before training again. “Are you going to win?” They asked me.
“Of course I’ll win!” I told the boys. “I always win in the Grandma category!” They gave me high fives and laughed, proud of their winning grandma.
And you know what? I really did win the race in my group of four! I was so proud, and sure it was the faith of the twins that gave that extra boost. These lessons in winning, and of continually reaching higher, apply to every other aspect of life, by the way…

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