Friday, July 31, 2009

She’s Gone (Kwan, That Is)… We’d Better Learn How to Face It

Dear Michelle Kwan,

I just read that
it’s official—you will NOT be making a run for Vancouver next February; that you’ve chosen instead to move on and continue your education with graduate school.

For that decision alone… thank you. In a season when the comeback trail has become downright clogged with skaters from the classes of 2002 and 2006, it is, at least to me, somewhat refreshing to know that you have decided to leave good enough—make that great, fantastic, AMAZING enough—alone. The speculation has been strong, of course… with a TBA slot for a U.S. female at Skate America, and your “return” with a Korean ice show in just a few weeks, the bandwagon seemed destined for your side of the street. But you took into account whatever was necessary for you to simply give the bandwagon a wave and let it roll on by, saying
This time, my ride is elsewhere.

Again, thank you. And thanks for so much else as well…

+ For giving as much as you did to your sport (some would say “carried it”) through probably the most turbulent 10 years of its existence…

+ For prominently raising the bar at a time when some people thought the demise of compulsory figures would trigger the opposite effect…

+ For having the personality, spirit and drive to captivate the whole world…

+ For winning so convincingly… and for “losing” (if silver and bronze medals are considered losing?) so graciously…

+ For showing us, just as Janet Lynn did over 35 years ago, that sometimes “it just doesn’t matter”… because we already know and love what is in you.

+ And thanks for inspiring at least one generation, maybe two, of undeniably talented young ladies. They’ll never be you, but to know they are trying—and, sometimes, succeeding with a glimmer here and there—is strangely reassuring.

And thanks to
your YouTube Clips, the inspiration will keep on coming.

Peace be with you, Michelle!

No comments: