The world can be unfair, and people can do terrible things to each other. Sadly, cross country skiers are not immune from this pain. When a woman can't take her children out cross country skiing in a local park without being robbed at gunpoint and then sexually assulted in front of her kids (article here), it certainly drives this point home.
Cross country skiing is supposed to be safe. The ski trails are supposed to be a refuge away from the ills of society and the rush of the modern world. And when this refuge is invaded and the world spills onto the trails in all its horror I feel violated. It feels like the skiing community as a whole has been assulted.
But what defines us is not the terrible things we must endure, but how we come out on the other side. The woman who was assulted released a statement on a community forum. In it she said:
"At one point the boys (who were robbing her) asked for our skis. I wish they could have taken them and used them and experienced the pure joy of gliding in the fresh snow, getting winded from exertion and breathing in cool, fresh air. Please send them all the love you can muster. I think they really need it."
If that does not speak to the power of an individual to forgive, and the power of skiing, I don't know what does. I personally am in awe of her response.