My late husband, Sully and I were professional figure skating coaches - we were also known to our students as Mr. & Mrs. K. One of our students, Roderic, 16 year old with the desire to be a skating champion had been working for months on a very difficult jump called the double axel. He was so close, but time after time he couldn’t quite land it.

About two weeks before his Sully’s death, every day would he’d say to me, “Honey I think today is the day he’s going to land that double axel.”  The three of us wanted this jump more than anything!  After Sully’s death I had tried to get Roderic to land his double axel with no success. There were so many times that I wondered, “Can I actually get him to land this jump now that Mr. K’s gone? Maybe I don’t even have what it takes.” I realized it was all up to me - I felt scared and all alone.

One afternoon I was working with Roderic on this elusive double axel – seventeen attempts and still, no double axel.
Roderic tearfully asked, “Mrs. K, why can’t I land it?" I could feel his thoughts, “If Mr. K was still here, he could get me to land this jump.” All of a sudden I had my answer - “Okay Roderic, go land this one for Mr. K!” He  stood there a minute, sighed and skated away. Next he was skating backwards at full-speed – then he stepped forward and threw his right leg up in the air, into one more double axel just like he had, countless times before.

Right before my eyes was the most beautiful, perfectly-landed double axel! As we both cried and hugged each other, I looked up again in silence; “Honey, you finally got your wish. Today is the day.”

If you think that Roderic landed that double axel because of desire, hard work, determination, good training, proper technique and tenacity, you would be right – however, why did he  succeed that particular afternoon after countless attempts before? Was it luck or coincidence? Maybe, but consider this; He had the missing piece of his puzzle - a bigger and stronger why. So what is your why?

                                                                                Taylor Kay Stephens