Mastery

“Why can’t I play hockey, Mom?”

John and I were watching boy after boy try to shoot a puck through a hole punched out of the middle of a cardboard goalie.  It was a fundraising event for his older sisters’ school.

Truth was, I didn’t have a good answer; I just didn’t like the violence that playing hockey entailed.  How could I tell him that?  At four-years-old, John was already demonstrating a natural athletic talent.  Did I have a right to choose sports for him?

“Tell you what,”  I offered, “If you can hit a puck through that hole, I’ll let you play hockey.”

The odds were in my favour.  So far no one had been able to do it.

John shot four out of five.

As a goalie, he excelled at shutouts.  His quick reflexes and ability to anticipate his opponents moves served him well.

My fears about hockey were never founded.  John himself dropped out once body contact became part of the sport.  He had found a new passion to focus on:  skateboarding.

For fifteen years now, John has practiced diligently, pushing himself through the fear and pain, to become an accomplished skateboarder.   To onlookers he is “The King”, gliding through any course with grace and ease.  He makes it look so simple.

Only John knows how hard he has worked to hone this skill:  hour upon hour, overcoming disappointment and frustration, always willing to try again.  He talks about a ‘zone’ – a state of mind – that he strives for, which helps him maintain balance and focus.  His art is very disciplined.

When John rides the board, he is free.  A freedom only someone who has mastered the art of movement can  understand.

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