Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sarah and Emily Hughes

Look at these pictures, and study Sarah Hughes' and Emily Hughes' faces. Do you see hesitation? Fear? You do not. You see joy in the moment, concentration, self-confidence. You see everything good about sport and humanity. Mr. and Mrs. Hughes must be parenting geniuses. I was moved to tears watching Sarah Hughes' courageous skate in 2002. Sarah rose to the occasion as well as any athlete ever. She hit a jump about one-third of the way into her performance, and she came out of it with the most natural and joyous smile possible. At that moment, Sarah knew, and anyone watching knew, she was about to ace the remainder of her performance. There was no doubt. It would've been the biggest fluke in the world if she had made a mistake after that. The rest of her performance was joyous and breathtaking. It was art. Now comes Emily, with little chance of receiving a medal, yet skating with joy, concentration, and self-confidence. If Mr. and Mrs. Hughes ever write a book, I will be first in line to read it.

This is what I wrote last night:
It's not that either of the Hughes girls are the best ice-skaters ever, at all.
It is, rather, that they skate into the most intense situations, and deliver performances which are dang near as good as they can possibly do. It is impressive. It is inspiring.

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