Samantha Kanevsky
Jun 21, 2018

It Only Takes a Second to be Kind

By Lori Draz and Samantha Kanevsky

Samantha Kanevsky

Each month our young authors write, in their own voice, stories that will educate and inform fellow students and parents. If you are a teen who would like to write your story, contact the Journal. We’ll help you polish it up, so don’t worry, let’s just get to sharing.

Intro for Samantha

This month’s author is Holmdel’s Samantha Kanevsky, a 13-year-old student at Oak Hill Academy in Lincroft who will enter eighth grade this September. This July, we’ll take a break from the summer heat and visit the ice rink. Skating is a year-round sport and skaters who desire to place in competitions are always training. Samantha is one of those skaters. As one of the youngest-ever Teen Scene authors, Samantha tells us a story of feeling overlooked and undervalued by coaches. The fictional essay is based on real life experiences, and the lessons learned can apply to situations every day. The names have been changed, but the emotions ring true. Here is Samantha’s story.

* Author’s note: People who struggle with favoritism are often afraid to express their feelings. I wrote this story to support and inspire them. It’s based on a real-life situation, but names have been changed for this publication.

It’s Monday and I haven’t seen my coach Amanda for three days. Friday was eventful. I not only landed my double axel, I did it again and again. For those who don’t know much about figure skating, I will tell you this: no double axel, no nationals, even for the youngest of us.

Amanda is so cool, I adore her. I am thrilled to tell Amanda and looking forward to her approval and praise. I see her, standing nearby, talking with another student.

“Amanda, I did it! I landed my double axel on Friday!” She quickly looks at me and says, “Great, please warm up” and turns away. My heart drops. Did she realize I was talking about a double axel? Is she teaching? Maybe she just doesn’t care enough. Yep, you guessed it. I am not her favorite, not the best, not the one she is taking to nationals. Every day I hope for a plot twist. I dream about doing something mind blowing, and in that moment everything would change and I become Amanda’s favorite. Others don’t often understand how it feels to be 0.01% of someone’s heart.

I am a decent skater. I go to regional competitions every year and qualify for final rounds. It is a big deal for me, my parents, and many coaches, but Amanda has two or three stars and I am not one of them.

Hoping to repeat my Friday success, I try to catch Amanda’s eyes, but she is not looking. Then I see my BFF Gwen. She skates like a goddess. I like her so much that I am not even jealous that she is Amanda’s favorite – one of her stars.

But this is my lesson, and Amanda is only mine for the next 30 minutes. My heart is pumping. I do the double axel again and Amanda says that she is happy for me. When I make my next attempt, I notice that she is no longer looking at me. She is talking to Gwen’s other coach, discussing travel plans for the next competition – on my lesson … my time with Amanda! I approach them and Amanda gives me a short instruction on how to go into the jump. I do the jump and nope, she didn’t see it again. Sheri, a 17-year-old senior, saw it and shows her two thumbs up, but not Amanda.

That always happens to me. I wonder why I never became her favorite or one of her favorites. Is it about last year’s Christmas present, which she didn’t like? I am sure my mom gave her something very expensive and a gift card with it. Who knows what other families gave Amanda for Christmas? I’ll ask Gwen next time.

“Julia, Julia, come here please.” That’s Amanda calling me; I wonder what is up. I’m nervous and excited, but she only asks if I could switch my lesson time tomorrow with Olivia. I hate doing that, because I am too tired and can’t show the best of me in the last half hour.

I give Amanda my biggest smile. “Of course! It’s not a problem.” But it is. I proceed to my routine blaming myself for not saying “No.” Why did I do it to myself again? Why do I feel the need to please and accommodate everyone? Nobody cares about me. Next time, I tell myself, I am not switching time with anyone. My mom will be upset. She knows how I feel, and teaches me to be independent, strong and vocal. Can I?

When I was a little girl watching figure skating on TV, I wondered how these girls could jump and rotate in the air. It seemed impossible. Then one coach said she could teach me. Wow! That was beyond my comprehension. Little by little, lesson by lesson, the impossible began to appear very possible.

Amanda has two stars today and I know I will be her third one tomorrow, because I know that the impossible can become possible. Just make a wish and set a goal.

It takes a while to learn to do anything, and even longer to get good at it, but it takes only a second to be kind. Sharing a word of encouragement, a little attention, even a thumbs up, can make someone’s day and even change their life. I hope that everyone reading this remembers to never get so busy that you forget how your actions make someone else feel.