At the moment, I’m sitting on my hotel room bed in Vierumaki, Finland (pronounced vee-roo-mah-kee…I think!). But before leaving home I got the awesome opportunity to visit the 3-5th graders at Pleasantview Elementary School, up in Sauk Rapids, MN. It was so much fun to be able to share pictures, fun stories, and what it’s like to be an athlete on the road with these kids. And I must say that I was blown away by their enthusiasm, their excellent (and very abundant) questions, and how they were the most well-behaved group of kids I’ve ever been able to ski with. Seriously!
(pictures taken by Peter Robinet)
After showing some pictures of training and racing across the country, and talking about the importance of having a great team and taking care of things like hydration and stretching, I was asked lots of sweet questions. Some of the best were; does it hurt when you fall? (see the scars on my legs for the answer to that one), and what was the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten (haggis and reindeer meat – they were shocked by the idea that I might have possibly eaten Rudolph so I reassured them that it’s much more common in Europe).
I also got a lot of high-fives and hugs that day. I definitely felt the love!
I got to join one class during gym, where the best gym teacher in the world, Peter Robinet, provides skis, boots and poles and includes nordic in the winter curriculum. Pretty awesome!
Seeing these kids bombing the hills, skiing around and loving it really inspired me, and reminded me that I ski because I love the sport, and like to be outside, and that it’s not all about racing and results. It’s about the people you meet, the places you get to explore, and sharing your stories and experiences with others to inspire them right back.