Friday, February 16, 2007
In the shadow of champions
Skating under the rafters
Waterloo, Ontario, February 2007
RIM Park is a multi-use facility on the northern edge of this mid-sized Ontario city. RIM refers to Research In Motion (corporate site, wiki entry), the folks who make the BlackBerry. The firm's HQ is not far from here, and its influence is everywhere as students from four area universities and colleges walk the floor of the annual career fair.
Unlike most fairs, the folks here are focused and serious. Before the doors open, they stand outside the hall, sharing notes on the companies inside and strategizing how they will approach each one. They prioritize their lists and double-check their questions and application packages before heading inside. It's inspiring to watch.
On the way to lunch, we pass over the massive ice pads on the western edge of the complex. Banners of past national and world champions hang over the ice as the future stars of tomorrow relentlessly push themselves through yet another training session. They fall, brush themselves off, get back up, and try again. They repeat the process under the watchful eye of their coach, under the silent gaze of those who have traced arcs across this very ice, who have managed to mount podiums and bring home medals and, yes, banners.
Like the soon-to-be-graduates at the other end of the building, these folks, too, are inspiring to watch. Perhaps their names will hang overhead someday. Perhaps not. Still, they skate. And fall. And rise again.
Somewhere in there lies a lesson for those of us who watch.
Your turn: Pushing the envelope. Pushing your envelope. Please discuss.