By: Mystique Ro
Having now lived in Charlotte for nearly three months now, I can honestly say this was the right decision. It has been imperative to my training to get back into an environment where I was able to focus and stay the course. When you surround yourself with other like-minded, driven, individuals, who are literally pushing their bodies to the limits, it’s hard not to stay motivated. Coupled with seeing athletes I went to school with, watched in competition and even practiced with now thriving on their own as they pursue their dreams- WAIT UP! It’s such an amazing feeling to come from a school culture where dream chasing and inspiring others to do the same, is such an integral part of our identity.
I always enjoy crossing paths with people I haven’t seen in a few years and catching up with “what I’ve been up to”. Skeleton is always a conversation starter. The fundamental yet routine explanation of what the sport is and how I got into it never fails to make me smile. Yes, there is humor in seeing the reactions I get when I say how fast sleds can go, but there’s also a sense of appreciation at people understanding at what I’m actually doing. Yes, the sport is physically demanding, but it goes beyond that. Skeleton is seldom anyone’s first choice- most people don’t even hear or know about it until the winter games come around. No. Skeleton is the lifeline many athletes didn’t know they were searching for. Skeleton is the chance to pursue their childhood dream of representing Team USA in international competition, an opportunity to be a part of something greater, a respite from the “real world” of the 9-5 jobs. It’s both exhilarating and terrifying, filled with so many uncertainties and unknowns. But we all signed up to take the plunge and more or less ride the adrenaline wave to whatever end comes our way whether is a decade-plus or only a few years.
Naturally, seeing the progression I have made in the past two years that I’ve competed in has been a huge morale boost. I went from not knowing anything and purely surviving each descent to trying to apply what I’ve learned and making educated mistakes. The funny thing is, every athlete goes through the same process and continues to go through that process for the entirety of their career. There is not a point when mastery is ascertained-ever! Be a student of the sport, but most importantly, have fun. You’re sliding for Pete’s sake!
PSA: Officially relaunched my online store, Cognitive Expression: Mystique vs Skeleton Merch
This store is going to be a crucial element in my journey as an artist in the near future. But at present, I am using it to help with my athletic endeavors. Check it out!!