For my story, I decided to share a letter that I wrote to my coach, Kori on her 40th birthday.
14 years ago I walked into a local ice rink with my mom and sister .My mom had been given a referral to start working with you just so I could get off my mom’s hands an hour a week. I had no goals in mind, no direction in what I wanted to do or be when I grew up, no manners, no body awareness, no focus, and my emotions were all over the place. All I wanted to do was skate fast and burn off some energy!
Thinking back, I don’t know how in the world a person only 26 years of age was able to handle a child like me for the amount of time we spent together. Not only did you manage me, you changed and shaped me to become the person I am proud to be. You taught me how to learn from my numerous temper tantrums, work to overcome my many faults, and deal with my problems and different situations head on. You told me yes every time I would tell myself no. You pushed me to continue competing after I told you I wanted to stop because I couldn’t handle the nerves that went with it. You didn’t let me get off the hook that easy. From there, you started working on my mental strength changing the way I view competitions and how I approach every obstacle, stepping stone, and situation I face; and for that I am forever grateful.
“Not only are you my coach, but you have become my second mom, my best friend, my teacher, psychologist, my biggest inspiration, and role model. I look up to you more than you will ever know, and I am beyond proud to call you my coach. I am so fortunate to have one of the best influences a child could have growing up.”
You believe in me more than I believe in myself, and you help me alter my self-image or negative perspectives so I can start working to gain as much confidence in myself as you have in me. You have taught me the value of patience, about how far I could go when I set my mind to it and put in the work, about what could happen when preparation meets opportunity, and how perseverance, determination, and staying true to yourself will provide a path to personal success.
Looking back at everything we have accomplished as a team up to this point of my career astonishes me! I truly can’t believe where we have gone and how much you have taught me. We’ve been on 14 international trips, 9 different countries, 4 continents, and have traveled all over the United States! You’ve made me a two time World Junior medalist, Junior Grand Prix Final Champion, 4 time national medalist in four different levels including 2 time national champion, 6 time regional medalist (4 time champion), 3 time sectional medalist (2 time champion), and a 10 time international overall medalist for Team USA.
You have never missed one of my events, and I couldn’t ever imagine competing without you right there on the other side of the boards. Every medal I have ever won, YOU have also won and I owe all of them to you! You get me to see past and learn from the rough skates and remind me that for whatever reason it was meant to be. You inspire me when I find myself at my lowest, and you keep me grounded when I reach my highest peaks.
I love you so much, and Sean and your two beautiful girls are so incredibly lucky to have you as their mother figure in their lives. I hope you had a wonderful 40th birthday, and I wish the years to follow continue to get better and better. 14 years truly flies by, and it amazes me that it is only the beginning of our journey.