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When life becomes hard to bear

One evening a young skater arrived at Ryde Arena after hearing some devastating news. Distracted and upset on arrival, the skater's mind soon focused on the complicated and physical moves of the sport and seemed to find some peace. For the next few months the passion for this sport helped to drown out the hurt and the skater spent every spare moment at the rink. At Ryde Arena, surrounded by a skating "family", the young skater received help and support in a safe place and a purpose and something to focus on away from the problems outside the rink.

Suddenly this skater received another blow - the rink was closed and everybody was locked out. Overnight this young skater lost the vital support so necessary to help keep going. Yes, the skater still skates, travelling to the mainland at stupid times of the day and night but it's not the same — friendship is still there but in "foreign" rinks the "family" atmosphere is missing. The skater has lost the stability, help and support which was helping maintain a life as normal as possible in a heartbreaking situation.

This skater wasn't the first and won't be the last young person to need "outside" help to see them through the harsher upsets of life and was lucky to have had a healthy place to turn. We all know what can happen when children and adolescents under stress have no healthy outlet for their feelings. This is another reason we need the ice rink: Not only does skating/ice hockey provide confidence, exercise whilst having fun and the shared responsibility of working as part of a team but it also gives friendship, help and support when life becomes to hard to bear.

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