I know, I’m not such a good skater. I’m not able to make it to the National Team, it’s hard for me to finish the 5km, and I’ll never be as fast as a rocket… Although it doesn’t mean that I don’t care.
Sometimes I think: enough, I don’t want this, I can’t do it, it’s not for me. And I feel like shouting out of rage and disappointment. However, I always change my mind, I can’t quit. Even if I’m not a top skater I love this too much, I’m too into it, I like everything about it.
For instance I like that slight pain in the belly just before the race, the furious starts, the strong opponents and the evil looks they throw at me, the fatigue, the sweat, the bang at the start that spooks me, the scorching heat…
I like it when it’s the last lap but it feels like more than a kilometer, because I’m so tired I wouldn’t even be able to say a single word, I like trying new and slippery tracks, even when I fall! I like to fight, to give it all even when it’s not enough, to taste that horrible lactic acid in my legs at the beginning of the season, the injuries on knees, ass and elbows, those blisters in my feet…
I like it when I miss a safety pin to hold my number; I even like those disagreeable little men in white. I love the tension rising when they call my name to the start, when in my mind there’s nobody else but me and my adversaries, when everybody shouts straight in my ears but I don’t hear them because I’m totally focused on my race.
I like it when I see a National or European champion skating away with such a perfection that makes my heart jump, aside from the thousand emotions, the obstacles to overcome, or that damn skater that I‘ve been trying to beat since we were little girls, and the joy of finally beating her, the happiness coming from the podiums, the medals, or any error that can be repaired. Or when I say to myself “don’t quit” right the moment when I can go any further and I feel like falling down to the floor and forget about everything and everyone, or the delight in victory and sadness in defeat, the confusion when I don’t know when it’s my turn to compete, the strong belief that even if I was not first or second in spite of all my effort, I always gave everything I had to the bottom of my strength, that I fought until the very end, until my body could no longer move. I know that I fell but I quickly got back up and continue the race, regardless of injuries and pain, and that I was able to cross the finish line anyway, not caring about the final classification because I pushed until my legs were totally depleted of energy and my lungs with no air at all…
Yes, then I feel like shit, knowing that I couldn’t do better. I was not born to be a champion, that’s the way it is and I had to admit it. But nobody can tell me “you don’t know jack because you’re a loser”. I write these things because they come from my heart, because I really know about them. If I don’t win it does not mean I don’t give a toss about my sport! Rather the opposite.