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Monday
Sep 01st

Rohene Ward is Black history; now

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By Ryan T. Scott

Unless you know another top-ranked Black figure skater from North Minneapolis, then we should indeed call the accomplishments of Rohene Ward "Black History." When you pay attention to things, you gain interesting insight on what is to come, and what things mean in the big picture. Paying just a little attention to Rohene Ward, you realize that he has what it takes to be the best figure skater in the world. Unless you know another top-ranked Black figure skater from North Minneapolis, then we should indeed call the accomplishments of Rohene Ward "Black History."

Rohene Ward

When you pay attention to things, you gain interesting insight on what is to come, and what things mean in the big picture. Paying just a little attention to Rohene Ward, you realize that he has what it takes to be the best figure skater in the world.

For one thing, there is this move in figure skating called "The Quad." Now I am still not exactly sure what it is, or how you do it, but I know that me and you (the reader) better not try it. As I look out the window I can see Fairview Medical Center. That is exactly where we would end up if we tried a Quad. All I know is it has something to do with the number four, and jumping in the air . . . with skates on . . . and landing back on your skates.

Count me out for a Quad, but you can count Rohene Ward as one of about a handful of men standing, or jumping, on U.S. soil, who can do it. The Quad is the most difficult move that must be executed in order to win a male figure skating national championship. Rohene Ward can perform several figure skating skills that most of his competitors cannot.

The U.S. Figure Skating National Championships were just held at the Xcel Center in St. Paul last week. Mr. Ward did not perform nearly as well as he would have liked, but someone only has to pay attention to Rohene Ward's story, and professional comments about him, to know that his crowning moment is soon to come.

Ward started skating at the early age of seven. He would soon after begin playing hockey. Ward very much enjoyed hockey, but wanted to be the star on every play.

Ward says, "I wanted to score a goal every time I got the puck."

So his mother suggested that he move on to figure skating because the equipment cost too much for him not to embrace the entire game.

Ward says, "She got tired of seeing me doing twirls and spins in the corner while everyone else was doing hockey drills."

He loved to skate, and that is just what he went forward doing.

Now North Minneapolis ain't no hotbed for ice skating; but Compton, CA ain't no hotbed for tennis either, yet Venus and Serena Williams seem to do okay. It is simple activity that saved these young people from the possible dangerous lures of these so-called "tough neighborhoods." I happen to think that Compton is a nice city . . . of course I was born there, though. Compton has palm trees just like Beverly Hills, and North Minneapolis has parks and skating rinks just like Edina or Minnetonka. We must push our kids to use them, just like Rohene Ward, Venus and Serena, Magic Johnson and the million mile list of people who became something besides Mr. Crip or Ms. Blood.

Habits lead us into our pathways in life. Rohene Ward had a habit of ice skating since the third grade.

"When other kids were running the streets, I was catching the bus to go skating," Ward said.

Skating kept Rohene away from the gang scene that plagues everyone's ability to live comfortably in many urban neighborhoods. He found something (legal) that he liked, and he focused on being that best at it.

Now Rohene Ward is that elite figure skater that the rest of the world worries about, because they all see that he has supreme talent. He is basically the annual Gold Medalist since 2001 in the Upper Great Lakes Regional Championships. Ward left the country on a search to attend the World Figure Skating Championships, and his heritage, and came away with the 2006 Puerto Rican National Championship.

I mentioned "The Quad" before. Even more unique than that is that Rohene can do triple jumps, on the ice, in skates . . . in both direction
 

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