Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Okay, so now I'm officially an ice skating fanatic. I've always loved the sport, but since my daughter has been on a synchronized skating team, I've become so passionate about the sport that I am moved to tears at every competition. And, I'm not always crying because my daughter's out there. No sir-ee. I am not sob-specific. Sure, I cry for my daughter and her teammates, but it doesn't end there. I cry for other teams, other skaters, anyone on the ice...
So tonight, the movie Rise premiers in theatres nationwide and if you are not familiar, it is a one night tribute to the 1961 U.S. World Figure Skating Team that perished with their coaches, family and friends on their way to the World Championships in Prague in 1961. The movie is based on the book written by Patricia Shelley Bushman, who herself was a former competitive figure skater. She recounts the months leading up to the competition, illustrating the drive, determination and passion that those skaters have, that all ice skaters share. Only the 1961 team never got the opportunity to compete.
The ultimate tragedy is that to this day, they don't know why the plane crashed. But the inspiration that I promised you at the beginning of this post? It lies within the surviors and the ice skating community. The crash took out so many key figures that the sport had to rebuild itself and did so with the same determination, strength, passion and committment that is evidenced at every level of ice skating today.
In reading about the movie last night in my daughter's Ice Skating magazine, I was moved to tears, unable to keep reading. My daughter is used to my sobs in the stands of an ice rink, but this confused her (I don't cry about everything, you know) as she handed me a tissue she had a puzzeled look on her face. "Wha..why are you...?"
"I can feel it. I can feel what it's like to love something so much. To sacrafice for something that is so powerful inside of you that you don't know why you do it, day in and day out, except that you love it. You love it more than life itself. And then, to never get the chance to shine, to get that moment in your life where your passion and drive and work pays off... it's just tragic."
So in the wake of tradgedy lies inspiration to carry on with whatever it is that you live for. There is hope. There is tomorrow. There is time.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Sunday, January 2, 2011
On my first day of Kindergarten, at Our Lady of Perpetual Hope Catholic School, Sister Irene called out, “Shari.”
I didn’t respond. Shari is my mother’s name. She didn't come to Kindergarten with me, did she?
Sister Irene called out my mother’s name again. I turned around and looked past the ginormous red apples made out of construction paper hanging down from the ceiling, everyone’s name printed neatly on each one, to see if she was standing in the back of the classroom, next to the bookcases, or in front of the crayon bins piled high with so many crayons I could smell the wax from where I was sitting criss-cross applesauce on the rug. Nope.
Sister Irene called out Shari for a third time, adding my last name now. So I raised my hand. I figured I should help her out. She must be confused.
Sister Irene replied with a smile, “Good morning Shari.”
I said, “No. My name isn’t Shari. That’s my mother’s name. My name is Toni.” I thought she looked a little old and possibly very hard of hearing, so I spelled it out for her. “T.O.N.I. Toni. That’s my name.”
Sister Irene planted herself in front of me, pushed her fists into her hips, and with her crucifix blinding me, she grimaced down at me.
When I got home, my mother showed me my birth certificate. She explained to me that my real name was Shari. Toni was just a nickname because my parents couldn’t agree on what to name me when I was born so they decided to name me Shari, after her. But my father was determined to name me Antoinette, so he called me Toni, and it stuck. She told me Toni could not be my name anymore, and from this day forward my name would be Shari.
I was devastated. Seriously? I had to drop the fun, easy to write name and replace it with my mother’s name? It's got an S in it. You know how hard it is to make an S? Yick. My career as a student was getting off to a really rough start. As if the stark realization that you had to wear the same hunter green and navy blue plaid jumper to school every day for the rest of your life wasn't bad enough, I was getting my name ripped away from me too. So much for identity.
I quickly figured out how to write my new name and moved past losing Toni, and although my father complied, he was still determined not to call me Shari. So he started calling me Toots. Everyone around me (except for my mother) began calling me Toots as well. I am still referred to Toots in my family and have even more nicknames, listed in no particular order: Roger, Shar, Shariberry, ShariAnne, Shari Junior.
Although Kindergarten meant complete identity crisis for me, little did I know that my life was pretty darn good at the time. Looking back on it, I wish I could have savored those first few years of school a little more than I did, because fourth grade was coming my way and life was going to get even more difficult for me.