Ann Margreth Freiby Catherine Collins of Ultimate Edges of Excellence

It all starts by taking your 3 year old to the rink for “learn to skate” lessons as something to fill an hour of their week and give them an outlet for their energy. They come home from class and continue to skate around the house, wearing their helmet, gloves and maybe a super-hero or princess costume from the dress up box, constantly asking every day there after “ Do I go to skating today?”

Next thing you know, you’re complaining about the hours spent driving back and forth to the rink, with the 6 a.m., OMG.. give me coffee, early morning or the later-than-you like on a school night, time sitting and waiting in the cold arena for practice to end when you have a million other places to be, and please, don’t even get me started on the money- registrations, skates, extra practice ice, skates, extra lessons, skates, tournaments/competitions, skates, equipment/costumes, skates, fund raisers, skates. Did I mention skates?

You fret and worry that a “normal childhood is passing them by. They are not on the school basketball team, not on the volleyball team, not on the cheerleading squad. They are very rarely at the dinner table because they are at the rink for some sort of practice almost every night. Family vacations are planned around summer tournaments or competitions. Which usually are the family vacations. Just saying!

But before you know it, they have played their last game, skated their last competition, hung up the last pair of skates and it is all over too soon. When it is all over and they have left the rink for the last time, will you remember the hours, the money, and the worry of the physical toll?

My guess is “NO”

You will remember the gifts that their sport has given them: the ability to prioritize, to multi-task, to handle pressure and last minute changes, a strong, flexible body,and an appreciation for hard work. You will be grateful you are sending your child out into the world with a strong work ethic and a long attention span. You will have a great sense of pride and peace knowing your child is part of a strong circle of young adults equally capable of lifting one another up when life’s little speed bumps get tough, as they are celebrating each other’s accomplishments, triumphs and victories.

In the end, pat yourself on the back, all because taking them to that first “learn to skate” class 17 years ago was one of the best parenting decision you made.

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