The Holiday Skate

Christmas Eve Day is one of my favorite days of the year.

This picture was taken during our annual family Christmas Eve Day skate — a tradition we’ve had since 2004. It all started with myself and my two nephews, but now it’s a full family event, with breakfast included. Even the benders and grandparents lace their skates.

This day is always fun, and you can see how all of us have changed and grown. It’s a day to reflect and reconnect. Maybe we’ll meet somebody’s new boyfriend or girlfriend. Sometimes we’ll see how others’ skills have grown in sports, and hear about their team and how they’re playing. We’ll probably ask about a relative’s first semester at college, or their last.

There are times when we must acknowledge who is not there. That can be painful — even if we don’t talk about it.  

But it’s a tradition we all look forward to every year. 

The morning skate is a lot like habits. It started small, but it has grown and blossomed. It becomes contagious to you and to others.

In the small town my wife is from, other families have started renting ice after our time to do the same type of thing. Last year, I feared it would end because of COVID. But it didn’t. And this year, as I write this, I am waiting for COVID results for all three of us. (We all tested negative)

It’s funny how we value things more when they are threatened. We are fortunate to have the means to do this, and to be able to spend time with family and enjoy each other.

With that said, I also realize that sometimes the holidays are hard for people. I’ve heard that specifically from people I work with. 

Remember that it’s okay to not be okay. Especially if you have suffered a recent loss, it’s normal to feel like that. Recent can even mean years ago. Grief goes in cycles, and this time of year amplifies that. Be good to yourself and the people around you.  

This time of year, we give presents. Remember that your presence is important to someone. Remember you are one of God’s precious children. Nothing more. Nothing less. 

Happy Holidays to all of you from the staff at the Center for Sports and the Mind.