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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)

TITLE: Battle On Ice
By Dolores Stohler


Laura watched her teen-aged daughter whirl about the ice practicing her leaps and spins and her heart swelled with pride. Already a champion, Dulcie was sure to be chosen for the Olympic team.

The rink was bare except for one other skater, a tall girl named Irina Tchakova, who skated with less confidence, falling as she tried to pick up speed. Dulcie skated over and bent to help her to her feet, but the other teen wrenched herself away. “Don’t you touch me,” she screamed. “I hate you. How dare you be better than me.” Then, to punctuate her angry words, she grabbed Dulcie by the hair, pulling her down on the ice beside her. Jumping on Dulcie with flailing fists, she knocked her about the head, making her scream.

“Get off my daughter,” cried Laura, horrified. She hurled herself onto the ice and, slipping and sliding, made her way swiftly to the struggling pair. Dulcie was fighting back with defensive tactics, trying to hold Irina’s hands to keep her from clawing her face. The blades on Patti’s skates came dangerously close to kicking her legs.

Reaching the fighting pair, Laura tugged Irina off her daughter while Dulcie struggled to her feet. Angry voices approached and Laura heard Irina’s mother yell,“what are you doing to my daughter? Leave her alone, do you hear?” Turning to the grim-looking trainer beside her, she exclaimed, “That girl tried to harm my daughter. I saw the whole thing. She tripped her up when she skated by.”

Laura’s mouth flew open in surprise. “She did no such thing. Why, you weren’t even around. I’m sure you didn’t see Irina attack Dulcie when she tried to help her,”

“Lies! All lies! I was standing in the entranceway when it happened. It was a deliberate attack on Irina. Because she’s better than your daughter.” She spat out the last words, giving Laura a killing look.

The puzzled trainer stood by looking helpless while the quarrel ensued. “I think I’d better call the police,” he said at last, slipping off before the others could stop him.

The story made all the local papers, with Irina’s mother pictured proclaiming her daughter’s innocence. And the trainer washed his hands of the affair by telling both girls he didn’t want to work with them again. They could look elsewhere for their figure-skating trainer.

* * * *

The following Monday, Dulcie dragged off to school with reluctant heart. She had only a few not-too-close friends, having spent all her spare time in training, missing parties and dances. Now she thought everyone would avoid her. So she was really surprised when Emma Blake, the most popular girl in the class, came up to her in the hallway. Emma had snubbed her in the past, belittling her athletic ability. Now Emma was apologetic. “Dulcie, I’m really sorry about what happened. We all know Irina is a bully. You deserve to make the Olympics, but I guess this kills your chances, doesn‘t it?”

All day long kids surrounded Dulcie, offering their sympathy. She felt a warm glow of happiness that foreshadowed anything she had felt while winning a competition. By the time her mother came to pick her up that night, she no longer cared about losing her trainer. But Laura walked her to the car feeling protective. “Your dad and I have decided to move to another city where you can have a fresh start with a new trainer,” she announced. Then, noticing Dulcie’s lack of enthusiasm, asked, “What’s the matter, honey?”

“Oh, Mom. Can’t I just skate for fun? Do I have to pursue a Gold Medal? The most wonderful thing happened today. I made friends with kids who never liked me at all when I was a skating star. Before, when I was winning contests, I felt good about myself, but afterwards I felt empty inside. Mom, I’ve never even had a boyfriend. I need friends! I think what I really want to do with my life is become a nurse or a therapist. I want to be with other people, helping people. Love and friendship - isn‘t that what life is all about?”

Laura was unable to talk for the lump in her throat. She looked at her daughter with dawning respect. And a new kind of pride began to work its way into her heart.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Chrissi Dunn02/22/07
You kept me on the edge of my seat. I didn't expect a fight to break out on the ice! It would be interesting to know what happened next!
Sara Harricharan 02/22/07
I like the character of the daughter. The title kind of hinted of something big to happen on the ice. I almost wish that she'd kept trying for the gold, but you did such a great job of bringing her around and that it all fits together wonderfully. ^_^
Sharlyn Guthrie02/23/07
Your story held my interest all the way through. I especially enjoyed the ending. Balance and priorities are valuable things to learn while young. I'm glad the mother could see it that way.
Jacquelyn Horne02/25/07
Good writing. Nice story. Two things bothered me, however. You wroted "blades on Patti’s skates". Who is Patti? Also, I don't think the bully would admit that Dulcie was better than her. She might say, "You think you can skate better than me." But she would never admit to being the lesser skater. However, these are minor issues. Very good story in all.
Marty Wellington 02/27/07
Good action which drew me along through the story. I noticed the "Patti" issue and the comments of Irina didn't ring quite true as well. One other thing that struck me a little odd was that she was ready to give up skating so fast. Someone who's that close to the Olympics and has been working at it so hard might have more of a struggle in giving up that dream--just a thought. These are minor issues, but overall great storyline.
Amy Michelle Wiley 03/01/07
Good story with a good message! As a past figure skater myself, I did find the story line unrealistic for several reasons, but that doesn't erase your good writing ability. Congrats on your win!!