Friday, February 21, 2014

One -- No, Two -- No, One Lesson from Speed Skating

"Surely they shall come with speed, swiftly"
Isaiah 5:26

Our days of the Olympics are winding down.  I am so enjoying every minute of watching these varied and interesting sports.  The athletes are engrossing, the countries are interesting, the sports are fun to watch... But there's still some good stuff remaining to be seen in these last few days.

My topic for today is speed skating.  I can't believe how very different are the variations in this sport.  Short track is fast and crazy, and there's a fair-to-middlin' chance someone's gonna bump into you in the chaos.  But then in "regular" speed skating, there are events that can go on for several minutes.  Lap after lap...  Yikes...

That's the first of my lessons, the very long speed skating events.  See, in a way, it's not that different from cross-country skiing.  Endurance and perseverance and begging your muscles to do what you've been training them to do for all these years.

However, with speed skating, the view isn't anywhere near as beautiful.  The view is boring, really.  And very, very repetitive.  Around and around and around.... Over and over and over...

But the good part is that your coach gets to be nearby.  Every lap you go by him (or her) and he (or she) can give you instructions, or advice, or encouragement.  Frequent cheering, from someone who knows you well enough to know exactly what you need to hear.

The second lesson about speed skating is different, but the same.  Stay with me.

One of the things that has been fun to watch about speed skating is the athletes from the Netherlands.  I mean to tell ya, they own this sport.  I think they've swept the podium four times, winning something like 20 medals in various speed skating events.  Clearly, this country is fond of this sport.  The stands are filled with people wearing and waving orange.  They really make their presence known.

And because the sport is so popular in the Netherlands, among the fans in the stands are the king and queen.  I was so fascinated by them.  They are fairly young (relative to, say, Queen Elizabeth, who's one of the few monarchs in the world that I can name.) and they've got their orange on, and they're just hanging out and cheering as if they are nobody important.  And the speed skaters do their victory laps, and wave at their king and queen, and the king and queen wave right back.  If I didn't know better, I'd think that everyone in that country knows each other.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima ~ photo credit:
The two lessons are the same:  the nearness of your King and Coach.  Cheering you, guiding you, and urging you on.   He is never far, you have only to look to Him and ask for His wisdom.  Victory is certain; the only question is the quality of your race.  Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you.

~ "With Him are wisdom and strength,
       He has counsel and understanding" ~
Job 12:13

~ "I am the Lord, your Holy One,
       the Creator of Israel, your King" ~
Isaiah 43:15

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