My observations are based on personal experiences and those of fellow athletes who I was fortunate to meet in sports arenas and in courtrooms. Across different sports, nationalities, races, ages and genders, they all share certain characteristics that make their stories unique yet relevant to our everyday lives. What makes athletes to choose fighting and why? What character traits help them get up after a fall and carry on? Some answers may be surprising and enlightening.
I am a sports lawyer and a former professional figure skater. It has been over fifteen years since the last time I laced my skates and stepped on the ice in front of the audience. But after all these years, ice skating remains a part of my DNA. I still have vivid dreams of competing in my sleep, when things go terribly wrong at the very last moment, from unfamiliar choreography to defective equipment.
In contrast, I seldom dream about being a lawyer. Don’t take me wrong, legal practice presents its own challenges full of emotional peaks and valleys. And it takes a steep learning curve to become a lawyer. But nothing besides war or a life threatening situation hits a nerve or shapes identities in the same way as the raw rush of adrenaline of professional sports.
Thirty years of competitive ice skating gave me a rare chance to live through great partnerships, rivalries, failures and successes that I would not have experienced otherwise. The career of a professional athlete taught me some tough lessons soaked in with buckets of sweat about human character that can help anyone grow strong, resilient and accomplished.