Skate for The Joy of Skating
So they skate not for perfection, but for the joy of skating—and for their God.
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Winter Olympics, 1988. Calgary. The headlines blared: “Going for the Gold: East Germany’s Katarina Witt v. Debi Thomas from the United States.” Who would win the gold medal in women’s figure skating?
The final competition fell on Saturday night. Our family watched TV with breathless silence as Katarina skated a perfect performance. She took no chances, skating only the requirements, no extra spins or jumps, and no mistakes.
Debi was to skate at the end, and since I really wasn’t interested in the other skaters, I went to take a shower.
Suddenly I heard a scream, oh no!, you won’t believe this! Throwing my towel, I raced to the TV and stood there dripping wet as Elizabeth Manley, an “unknown” Canadian, electrified the crowd. The possibility of obtaining the gold medal was out of her hands. Not worried about perfection, she pulled out all the stops and whistles and skated merely for the joy of skating—and and for her country. She put her whole heart into the performance of a lifetime. The crowd erupted in spontaneous cheers.
You know the end of the story. The pressure was too much for Debi. She fell twice and finished third, with the silver going to Elizabeth and the gold to Katarina
We live our lives much like those three skaters. Some are so focused on “going for the gold” that they follow the rules to the letter of the law. Terribly correct, their goal is perfection. And they make most of the people around them miserable—and probably themselves too.
Others find the pressure too much. They stumble, fall, and may even give up their faith.
Then there are those who pull out all the stops of life’s possibilities. They realize that on their own they can never do enough to deserve the gold. It’s a gift from God. So they skate not for perfection, but for the joy of skating—and for their God.