February 16, 2022 - 15

"You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless."  (Eccl. 11:9-10 NIV)

Kamila Valieva. 15. Can't drive yet. Can't sign a legal contract of any sort yet. And yet one of the biggest sport controversies of the last week outside of the face-masking call that didn't happen at the Superbowl that led to a touchdown.

Kamila Valieva. 15. Doping female figure skater poised to win gold for the already penalized "Russian" or ROC neutral flag.

Kamila Valieva. 15. Accused of taking heart enhancement drugs that improve oxygen levels and endurance in long programs. Guilty. 15.

I watched her skate in the short team program and was wowed by her skill and her artistry. 15. I don't know about the drug stuff, but it can't get you to do triple sow cows and flying camels and other animal shapes. There is some talent going on here or I'd be in the Olympics. Curler or Snow Cone Design.

But as my two favorite female commentators [Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir] said, "Cheating is cheating. Anything that gives you an edge chemically that enhances you physically is cheating. She shouldn't be allowed to compete."

I don't understand the sport of ice skating or the immense pressure of competing at that level. I don't understand the pressure of representing your country on a world stage. I don't understand what it means to be a female in that world. But I do remember being 15 (vaguely).

Saving for a car. Working on the farm or with dad in his painting business. Mowing grass. Working the garden. Babysitting my sisters. Figuring out the world of girls and my single action BB gun. Trying to remember my locker combination. Still depending on mom and dad for transportation, for life's provision, and most importantly, for guidance, for safety. 15.

Makes you wonder.

Breaks my heart.

Kamila Valieva.