The Building That Built Me
Updated: Jan 29
Have you ever heard of that Miranda Lambert song, “The House That Built Me?”
If you have, great. If you haven’t, it is a great song, reliving the memories of living in a home that she was raised in. Have you ever wanted to go back to where you grew up, especially when you aren’t feeling the greatest? When you are feeling most lost and confused, you want to go back to a place that
you have so many fond memories?
That has been what this week has been for me.
This week is the Canadian National Championships. It is being held in Mississauga at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre — previously known as Hershey Centre. Heading to this rink, walking through the hallways, sitting in the stands, and skating on that ice, brings me back years of memories. It makes me pull my shoulders back and hold my head high. It makes me feel strong. I feel confident in this building.
Here, I watched my first competition outside of Newfoundland when I was only 9 years old. My sister was competing and it was the first time I got on a plane and got to watch her skate. It was so exciting! Cheering her on and eating ice cream for breakfast. Here, I turned 10, 12, 13, 14, and 15. So many birthdays spent celebrating in the halls.
Here, I stood on many podiums. It is also where I fell three times in a long program and didn’t have a podium finish for one of the first times. Here I told my coach I was nervous for the first time.
Seven years ago, I became a Senior Canadian Champion for the first time. After a breakout season, winning international competitions, the memories that are the strongest from that season are from here. In this building. It was the first time I felt like I was someone. I felt special here for the first time. People knew my name. People were expecting me to do good. I had friends in the stands, who had competed previously that week, stay and support me. My family was in the stands. My sister was cheering wildly with a broken arm. It was sold out! It was energetic! I could feel that energy surround me and lift me. Up to that point, I had never felt more alive. I became addicted to that feeling here. I wanted to feel that special moment at every competition. Though I’ve had extremely special moments since then, very little will compare to the moment you feel special for the first time.
After years of fighting after that National title. Dealing with injury and pain, I got to stand on an international podium again on this ice. At Skate Canada International in 2016, I came second. It took me from 16 to 20 years old to hit that podium again. It kick started the last two years of my competitive career.
There is so much more that has happened in this building. Things that weren’t even on the ice. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve cheered, I’ve slept. Years of competitions, camps, and shows spent in this building, leads to years of exploring the halls wasting time. Here I’ve spent hours in the stands, looking at the empty ice, and being filled with life. Here, I’ve ran around with friends. Here, I kissed a boy in a secret staircase. If the walls could talk in this building, they would probably have a lot to say about me.
Now, this week, I get to sit in the stands and walk the halls in a brand new roll. I am Athlete Ambassador for the first time. Cheering on the athletes who are making these memories for themselves. Some are getting standing ovations for the first time. Some are falling and learning. Some will qualify to move forward and not end their season here. They will sit in the stands and reminisce about what happened here and will forever remember that.
This building built me. From 9 years old, until 24 year old me. I am still running around the rink. Stronger with the knowledge I’ve gained here. I respect this building and the emotions it brings me. I can’t look around this rink and not have my heart filled with overwhelming feelings. It’s like the grinch and his heart growing three sizes. The memories from one building makes my heart grow three sizes every single time I walk through those doors.