Alissa has been one of my favorites since she finished in the top ten at the 2003 U.S. championships. Even then, she had enough grace, beauty and talent to become the next Michelle Kwan. So what happened? Inconsistency. And—I’m only guessing—self-doubt.
The skating world cheered when Alissa finally got everything together to finish first in the 2009 short program at Nationals. But inconsistency—or maybe demons hiding inside her skates –would strike again. She floundered, finishing only third in the long program. Fortunately, her five point lead allowed her to obtain her first National title. She is one of the world’s most elegant skaters with athleticism to match, so she should have been on her way to a Wheaties box. Not so fast. She finished only tenth at the 2010 U.S. Championships—and missed out on making the Olympic team.
According to the press, Alissa considered quitting, but a guy you might have heard of, Brian Boitano convinced her otherwise and she skated in as the 2011 U.S. Champion. On a roll? No way. She had all the tools to be the first female since Michele to win back-to-back championships, but she floundered. Not a lot, but enough to keep her from the prize.
It occurred to me that Alissa’s plight is not unlike the writer seeking publication. We work on our version of jumps and spins (craft); we strive for beautiful artistry (great plots, better characters, unrelenting tension); we practice endless hours (editing, editing, and more editing); and, we seek the very best costume (pitch, query, synopsis). Everything is as perfect as perfect can be. Yet we still get rejections. Because the timing is wrong, or we flub that perfect pitch, or the query gets lost in cyberspace.
At age 25, Alissa is considered old in a world dominated by youngsters, yet she perseveres. She can erase her flubs and silence the naysayers with a placement at the world championships—like a writer can erase the pain of a hundred rejections with one sale. Once we’ve perfected our manuscript, like Alissa, we must quit trying to force events, we must simply let it happen.
In the meantime, we can take comfort in a quotation by Robert Schimmel that is allegedly Alissa’s favorite: “Life is not about learning to survive the storm, but rather learning how to dance in the rain.”
What inconsistencies are hampering your life goals?
COPYRIGHT © 2012 by Robin Weaver