A Comical Reflection from a Slider

As my 2018-2019 season is waning, I have come to a few conclusions as well as realizations.

Conclusion #1

I am human. While this seems obvious, this is a concept every athlete is conflicted with. Identifying one’s self as an athlete often means being held to a standard that is uncommon. Whether this standard is externally imposed or self-regulated, there is this need to measure up and exceed expectations. This is something I have struggled with my whole life. I would hold myself to standards set by my parents and coaches, to the expectations of my peers and teammates as well as my own personal goals.

The sport of skeleton has been an interesting teacher. While I have a decent amount of input on my push times and driving abilities, physics will always win. If I don’t catch a pressure at the right time, kinetic energy, gravity, and g-force will spit me out aggressively. All I can do at that point is salvage the exit and try to compartmentalize the bad curve and move on; the sled will move on with or without me.

It is human to expect certain results and outcomes, but it is also human to learn to accept what is within and outside of your control.

Conclusion #2

Skeleton is a sliding sport. It’s literally a sled sliding downhill- a kid’s dream! If I can’t smile and enjoy this I’m in the wrong sport, plain and simple!

Realization #1

I am one of 15 women sliding for the US. There are currently 88 women around the world competing in the sport of skeleton…I would consider them all some badass females! We all come from different backgrounds, walks of life and experiences.

It’s not easy to do what we do every day. We all carry 60 lbs sleds to and from training sessions, slide in temperatures that go 30 below zero, sometimes take massive hits during training runs that leave gnarly bruises and so much more obnoxious things. Why do we do it?¬†For the love of the sport. For the love of Country. To travel the world and meet new people. For whatever reason that is chosen, we all meet up on the starting line and make our way down the track in pursuit of our dreams and ambitions.

Realization #2

I worry too much. I would have to admit the biggest hurdle I have had to face while in the sport of skeleton has been financially supporting my conquest. I have bounced around employment, taken up odd jobs, moved to different states and tried various methods of campaigns be it merchandise, fundraisers and open donations. While I tend to stress more than I should or even within reason for my health, the reality of my situation has always been: things will work out.¬†From getting a temporary job while I’m traveling to an old friend sending me funds from afar, I have made it to my second full year on tour.

To say I am blessed would be an understatement. I have family and friends who support and believe in not only myself but my dreams! This is so much motivation to keep going and pushing myself. I am constantly reminding myself to keep moving forward. I have to believe in my journey.

The bottom line is, I have come to terms with understanding the type of person and athlete I am within the sport of skeleton. I have learned to love and trust the process of becoming a better slider. I have become enamored with the lifestyle I am currently experiencing. It most certainly is not easy, but it is the path I have chosen, and I plan on seeing it through! Maybe it is for the love of the sport, definitely for the love of country, but I have to say these are some awesome memories in the making.

Mystique Ro
About Mystique Ro 7 Articles
Mystique Ro attended and graduated from Queens University of Charlotte in December of 2016 where she received her bachelors degree in Relational Communications. During her time at Queens, she was a member of the women's track and field team competing as a heptahlete. At the end of her collegiate career she joined the coaching staff for a season assisting with the sprint and jumper team. But not quite ready to retire her spikes and join her peers in the quest for finding a career, she sought opportunity to further her athletic endeavors. She now competes for Team USA as a Skeleton athlete.

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