Jan. 20th, 2021, during the 46th US Presidential Inauguration ceremony, Amanda Gorman, the National Youth Poet Laureate, recited her poem with this beginning line: “When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?” Throughout the tragic year of 2020, not only have we experienced the now widespread and well-known effects of the coronavirus, but we have also had to say our goodbyes to many heroes and icons that will forever remain in our hearts. 2020 was a year in which optimism itself was perpetually juxtaposed with heart-wrenching loss.

As a 12-year-old 8th grader, my life was also changed by a huge loss. No, it’s not my hair. I’m not that old yet. No, it’s not my smile. It is still as beautiful as ever. What 2020 took away was my first true love. Sorry mother but know you’re right up there too! This love I speak of is what I’ve devoted 7 years of my life to; my everyday routine; my passion; my drive —Figure Skating.

It’s an arduous task putting the joy of figure skating into words. It’s not just a mere sport, it is another state of being. When I glide on the ice, the blades of my boots ever so slightly leave behind precise incisions. When I spin on the ice, my hair is enveloped in a synchronous dance with the wind. When I skate fast and come to a sudden hockey stop, I can see the chips of ice levitating in the air — ephemeral, yet gratifying. Figure skating allows me to become one with my surroundings! Before Covid-19, I skated ten hours a week. Even on vacations, in places where a rink was not accessible, you could still find me practicing. Yeeeup that kid you saw spinning and doing balancing drills?

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