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.

20 comments:

margalit said...

It doesn't take much for my to push my envelope these days. Simply going out today to get some catfood was pushing my envelope when there was smooth glare ice on our back stairs, the whole walkway to the car, and then around the car itself. I felt like I was just beginning to learn how to walk. Slipping isn't an option for me, so it's very hard to get out when the world is covered with a thick layer of ice.

Michele...

Veda said...

I push the envelope daily, although, I confess, I also procrastinate quite a lot...

Here from Michele's! (and first...!)

Kismet said...

And to think, all we have in our town is a Tonya Harding banner.

Very inspiring.

~K! (via Michele)

Neil said...

I never had any interest in figure skating, thinking it a girl's sport, but my wife is a big fan and completely turned me onto it. Some of these skaters spend their entire lives getting ready for their big moment, and the best ones combine athleticism and grace.

Chad Oneil said...

Nice image. I like the placement of the girl.

Faye Pekas said...

Hi Carmi, thanks for visiting my blog and for the kind words.

"They fall, brush themselves off, get back up, and try again."
I like this. Determination to succeed is a powerful thing.

I suppose I push my envelope most often when shooting photos. I will take risks and push myself when I am after "the shot" more than I would in any other circumstance.

I like your philosophy and agree that the world needs more random acts of kindness. And I agree that words are powerful toward this end and so easy to give.

Blond Girl said...

pushing the envelope? Carmi, I don't even need to start here, since you already know all about the pushing I'm doing right now! If I were on skates, I think I'd be working on a triple lutz about now.

By the way, mister... I was just over at Judy's place and I saw that you condone making fun of blonds... you would be well warned that, as a Minneostan, I know how to make Canu ck jokes! Tee hee - just teasing.

I wrote a quite lengthy blond joke for Judy if you want to read a humdinger!

Catherine said...

There's a time to push the envelope, and a time to look around and enjoy all the pleasures of life. I think some folks are so busy pushing the envelope, trying to be somewhere else, that they never appreciate what they already have. As for me, I guess the main envelope pushing I am doing right now is in trying to improve my fitness level before I slide into a decrepit old age :) And there are other changes that I will probably be making, out of necessity rather than choice.
Here from Michele's tonight.

AB said...

I have always loved figure skating - guess it comes with the territory, growing up in Canada! :) I love watching them glide and twist and turn and flip, utter grace and elegance - yet so much strength and determination and grit, too.

Thanks for visiting my blog, Carmi!

:)

CG said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, Carmi. I really enjoyed seeing your images; "Rusted" was a real favourite!

I like the idea of random acts of kindness - will see what I can do today :)

Mitey Mite said...

Pushing the envelope? well, my motto comes from a skater, but hockey, not figure-type. Wayne Gretzky said "100% of the shots you don't take, don't go in." I use that to motivate myself when it would be easier to just let it slide.

Michele sent me today.

Jayne said...

Well, no matter how many times we get knocked down, we simply have to get up again, now don't we? :c) The other option is to simply lie there, get run over, and disappear from existing.

So nice to meet you Carmi... and yes, I too believe that the world can be made more beautiful with words. Your blog is a perfect example.

talj said...

I love how each of your posts leaves the reader thinking! These days I am limited with how I can 'push my envelope' but I suppose the pushing I am doing right now is to get myself well! Even the little things like managing 3 meals a day are tough but I'll get there!

Love your image and interesting to read about how these people approach the career fairs, I don't think I have met many students that serious about things!

busybusymomma said...

I push the envelope a lot... I get really focused and don't want to stop what I'm doing. Sometimes if I know I can't keeping pushing the envelope, I will procrastinate so that I don't even start until I know I can finish. That was a mouthful.

Ice skating is really a graceful sport!

Annie said...

Hi Carmi,

Thank you for introducing yourself and leading me to your posts about visiting your father in the hospital. I could feel the outsider status again, that feeling that one first experiences (you shared about Noah's experience) before one becomes familiar with the culture of hospitals. By the end of a week with my mother in her hospital bed I was beginning to "speak" the language and grasp the norms and mores of the place.

I learned from your blog that "zadie" is the term for grandfather. I love knowing that. I knew Bubbe for grandmother but didn't know the equivalent. Although I'm not Jewish, I feel an affinity for many Jewish cultural traditions and terms. I'll call myself Bubbe and my husband Zaydie someday.

Memories Catcher said...

Nice shot.I like it!Well done!

PI said...

I love ice rinks - they feel so fresh and invigorating. Oddly I have just been watching skating on TV. So beautiful when it is done with skill and flair.
Michele sent me.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hi, Carmi. Thanks for visiting West of Mars; I hope you'll come back. I can smell that ice rink... ooh, I miss those days.

Mrs. Fun said...

I watch my two older sons every friday learn to ice skate. They fall, they get hurt, they get up and skate. Every week I think I am going to hear they don't want to do this anymore. Every week I am wrong. Instead i hear how fun and next week they are only going to fall 5 times instead of 8. Their will amazes me.

Mr. Althouse said...

This has brought up a number of thoughts. Coincidentally, I actually blogged about some of them in my most recent post.

I'm going to think a bit more on this... It is quite likely I'll answer on my blog - stay tuned.

And I have Michele to thank for directing me here this time.

Mike