Talent Is Overrated

Describe the world you come from.

My blades kiss the pasty ice as I step onto the empty rink. The zamboni driver has signed out for the night, leaving everything engulfed in darkness, except for a few dim yellow lights. I revel in the frosty silence until the rude hums of the generator interrupt the mystique and remind me to skate my laps.

In solitude, I could fall and miss a million times for the sake of improvement. Nothing will be more satisfying than surprising my teammates with my newly learned skills the next day, except maybe surprising myself. The friendly rink managers graciously shared the master schedule and covert key locations so I could skate uninterrupted in my free time, usually late at night. Even when I was caught by the hockey boys, they amiably shared the ice.

A whirlwind of coincidences blew me to hockey. I was randomly appointed team manager in my sophomore year, trusted to keep score and run clock at games. Thanks to the coach, I also learned how to ice skate on the unused portions of the rink, clutching the boards while girls elegantly deked past each other. Despite my mediocre crossovers, everyone encouraged me to play the following year. I cast off my doubts and committed, becoming an official forward my junior year. I loved everything...

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