This is not a cliché.

February 2018

28 February 2018

A small champion is growing fast

When the speaker named her and she stepped on to the top step of the rostrum as the winner, I must admit I felt a shiver down my spine.
She is at that fast-growing stage now and she is able to take on some of the more difficult pirouettes and demanding movements.
There’s a girl who lives around here, now nearly eleven years of age, who nearly every day after school goes training. She does dance, gymnastic and iceskating routines. Her mother accompanies her to the gym and then often returns to pick her up at the end of the session. Initially the sessions were just twice a week, but then three and now four times, and there is the competition day too.
The same girl never seems to be tired when I see her around, she having a permanent smile on her face and even the cold of winter does not seem to penetrate her or weigh on her mood. It is as if she and the mountains looking down have a mutual understanding on how to behave towards each other. Apparently even the homework of this girl creates no problem, even if time is tight, and her class marks are as high as the mountain peaks she so much loves.
I have heard it said that when she skates she wears a green outfit. In fact there’s a bit of a Tarzan in the jungle about her in the way she moves so freely. She is at that fast-growing stage now and she is able to take on some of the more difficult pirouettes and demanding movements. Her speed and command of the routine is a sight to behold they say. Her teachers Linda and Viviana have put together a programme based on Tarzan in the Jungle, no surprise that, and she is performing it in competitions which are taking on more than a regional flavour ... and against girls who are a good bit older than she.
This same girl is already dreaming about the Olympics, has had the thrill of seeing Carolina Kostner skate live five times or more. She is so determined and has her ideas clear – not for her to be a cyclist, a skier or a tennis player. She explains that she became passionate about skating on seeing her elder sister practise. Her sister has moved on to concentrate on other interests, explore new worlds, but this little one is already committed to her art, ready to train hard and keep on practising movements. She told me once when we were chatting casually that it is important to try really really hard as otherwise it is not worth doing it. And my word how she has taken her own words to heart – you know, she seems to really like the hard work and I guess that partly explains it all. At times I catch a glance of this young girl and I think of how much these young ones can teach us, how they are able to communicate and transmit the simple joys of life. It is at times like this, times when these thoughts occur to me, that I realise that we so-called adults, so-called grown ups, need to pay greater attention to the young ones and to learn from them, learn from their very freshness of approach, from their enthusiasm, from their acts of courage and daring which would help us to improve in our ways. I have also seen her fall and there has been a beat which skipped in my heart, but her retort in these circumstances is that you learn nothing if you do not make mistakes. At times i wonder where these worldly thoughts of hers come from, how does she manage to be so knowledgeable at so tender an age?
One day I saw her in a competition. Prior to that she had always obtained decent results battling against the older ones, even sometimes getting close to victory but never quite managing it. But that day the speaker named her and she proudly stepped on to the top step of the rostrum as the winner. I must admit that when I heard her name and saw her step up I felt a shiver down my spine. It was a real sight to take in, so happy and energetic was she in that costume of green, she, if the truth be told, looking more like Peter Pan than Tarzan. Sure, Peter Pan was a lively type too, dancing as he did across the skys and the seas and imaginary islands. And as I looked at this girl, and realised, as if I had never realised before, that the girl in question was my daughter Lena, I will readily admit that a tear or two came to my eye. We can think of Peter Pan and Tarzan, and add Lion King and Pocahontas too, and why not Mary Poppins for good measure, but the overriding emotion which remains with me is the very simple joy of living life to the full.