Week Twenty-seven: Amanda Kasper

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What is one thing you’ve learned this year?

We grew up together. Instead of swingsets and colored chalk it was Klingbeil boots and custom blades, appointments at Eva’s and trips to the little brown house. It was 5:00am icetime. It was coaches and road-trips and competitions and shows. It was glitter eyeshadow. Summer camp at Miami of Ohio. It was tickets to Stars on Ice every time they were in town. Lessons with Kathy Casey. Our first axel. Our first doubles. Moments in which we felt like we could fly.

The ice rink, the skaters and their families – we ran together. We were together. We were a family. We had sleepovers and carpools and parents who shared responsibilities. We had coaches who came with us to the hospital when we hit the wall harder than our body could handle. We lived in a world where we were the best of what we did. We worked the hardest. We had a reputation. We had each other. 

Speaking only for myself, when I was on the ice, when I am on the ice, I feel home. I feel safe. I feel me. The ice gave me a lot more than skills on how to jump or spin. It was a place bigger than a social hall or somewhere to hang out with friends. The ice was where I found confidence and eloquence, patience and determination. It’s where I found my voice. It’s where I discovered that it was okay to be me. It was our whole lives. Our families, our meals, our academics, our plans – they revolved around our skating careers.

We shared a passion. A drive. A lifestyle. Our lives were integrated, our days and hours and memories intertwined. We cheered on each other. We took wins and losses, testing results and everything that came with them together.

We lost an icon, a coach, a mentor, a father, together.

We all changed in that moment. At that time.

It bound us. Together or apart, we were the ones in that room; we were the ones who felt the loss. I’ve missed him.  I’ve thought so much about everything I learned that day, and all the days since.

Over the years, our connections have loosened. We’ve gone in separate directions. We’ve changed locations, schools, careers. We’ve had families, we’ve lived celebrations, faced challenges, and mourned losses.

The thing I learned this year is simple. No matter what happened, or has happened since those days – I was reminded in head and heart that we are still, and always will be a family. It’s time to reconnect with the people who shaped my life, who changed my life. With friends who have drifted, with role models who have grown into families of their own, with acquaintances who’s paths may again cross mine. Not in the manner of moving backward, not in the manner of holding on too tight to memories past – but in the spirit of moving forward, moving on, moving together. 

People may forget what you said,
they may forget what you did,

but they will never forget how you made them feel.

..maya angelou..

________

Amanda Kasper is a writer, reader, quote lover, CASA advocate, and non-profit believer, seeking space as a lifelong learner, passionate lover, and irreplaceable friend. Amanda tweets at @AKasper513 and blogs over at “& this I believe”

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