Alex – a nationally-ranked – devoted 11 years, 3,366 days, and 20,196 to the constant strive for perfection. Somehow, only seven minutes and thirty seconds defined his level of confidence and superiority.
Growing up, Alex was consistently asked if he was going to the Olympics or if he could do those “spinny, twirly” things on the ice. Nodding along towards people’s vagueness, Alex never quite knew what an adequate response was. Chuckling to cover up his insecurity, Alex then answered, “Possibly.” While the likelihood of Alex someday qualifying for the Olympics was high, he still struggled, oh so desperately, to find the underlying confidence in his own ability. Strangely, the belief system he appeared to carry was thoroughly inexistent, even after he secured his first national medal. That moment in time, Alex carries with honor, for it was when he first defeated the absolute presence of his “Dark Lord” – doubt.
Alex found himself ranked 7th after the qualifying round at the U.S. Junior Championships, with less than one point from the medal podium. When entering the free skate program, his body was quickly overcome with fear, feeling as if he were about to enter the lion’s den. Once his name was announced, Alex skated to center ice. Portraying the romantically notorious Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, he crossed his right foot over his left skate, tucked his worried hands into his tailored tuxedo pants’ pockets, and smiled at the judges, all while showing off his vibrant white dinner jacket. Upon landing his opening jump combination, Alex instantly cast out his inner demons. Using the power of his mental “posi-creature” – an animal with a positive spirit used to ward off negative spirits – Alex quickly sent his mind into a state of pure paralysis. As he skated into his last jump – the most difficult of the program – he choreographically performed a formal adjustment of his black bowtie. Alex glanced at his competitor’s parents sitting anxiously in the audience as he took off for the jump, soon landing it with ease. As he finished the program, Alex put his hands, now relaxed, back into his pants’ pockets and gracefully struck his ending pose, forever holding his posi-creature – a silver Stallion – in his eternal presence.
In an attempt to further defeat his inner demons, Alex stumbled into a secret terminal at JFK Airport. Boarding the “Dreamin’ Express” to the “Ice School of Singles Figure Skating” in Carpathia – a faraway country unknown to most – Alex left his family behind and forgot that he would endure perhaps the most pivotal struggle of his emerging adulthood.
Upon arrival, Alex traveled to the “magical” institution in a vehicle stained with the colors blue, yellow, black, green, and red – the colors of the Olympic rings. This prompted him to wonder if those colors were any indication of what’s to come. There, his stomach immediately sank in seeing such a high caliber of figure skaters at the school, including National, World, and Olympic competitors. However, one woman caught Alex’s eye. It was the head coach, Anastasia Goldweather. Like her name, her students were incredibly successful, winning gold medals left and right in all disciplines; and when seeing her coaching style, Alex realized how she came to be one of the greatest coaches in the world. Her character was stern and strict, but she appeared to have a heart full of gold. She, as did Alex’s journey here, helped grow him into a person stronger than ever before. It was at this very school that Alex was bewitched with the superpower of invincibility and reminded to always push the envelope, because life holds no boundaries for those who seek boldness. However, Alex strangely continued to question his place in this skating kingdom, becoming hesitant of his potential to conquer his personal army of negativity – the Dark Arts. Many moments later, however, Alex paused to glance at his national medal hanging from his shelf. Reminiscing, Alex beamed with great pride, as from that moment onward – after 11 years, 3,366 days, and 20,196 hours – he finally believed, with the almighty power of his posi-creature, he was surely destined for greatness.
Two years later, Alex achieved his dream and qualified for the Olympics, showcasing that through self-confidence, hard work, and determination anything is truly possible.