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Inukshook - Symbol of Sport
The story behind a modern-day
legend . . .
A Kid Called Inukshook - how a legend is made
All Inukshook ever dreamed about was being respected
by the village. Even when Inukshook was a little kid, every thought of
every day was filled with fantasies of becoming the greatest hunter, and
ultimately, a great Olympian.
Every day Inukshook would practice hard to improve strength, endurance
and intellectual cunning. A great hunter, like an Olympian has to be well-rounded
-- smart as well as strong
Inukshook was young and could hunt and play all sports well.
Inukshook lived in a cold land covered with ice and snow. The winters
were long and sometimes the sun never shone for many months. At other
times the sun never went to sleep and stayed low in the sky for very long
periods. This was the best season because it meant Inukshook could practice
hunting, sledding or skating all day long every day for weeks on end.
Sometimes little Inukshook never slept for many days in a row -- at least
in Inukshook's active young mind it seemed that way. Sleep seemed to be
a waste of time.
Inukshook's environment was very different and a wonderful mystical place.
It never seemed to be fully day or fully night. Always somewhere in between,
an esoteric existence that suited Inukshook's lifestyle and dreams perfectly.
Inukshook had a friend named Aura who was from the Borealis tribe. Aura
always dressed in the colors of the rainbow and was the bright spot of
Aura was Inukshook's best friend and guiding light, and one of the spirits
who kept Inukshook connected to happiness.
In many respects though Inukshook was also a normal kid, and when Inukshook
did something bad, like not help with daily chores, Inukshook's mother
would get very angry. This frightened Inukshook because mom would sometimes
growl like a scary polar bear.
Thankfully, Aura's igloo was close by and when mom got cranky Inukshook
could zip over to Aura's as quick as the Arctic wind. It was a place where
Inukshook could always find warm cookies and hot chocolate.
Inukshook's mother was usually loving and caring, but she was a single
mom who worked hard and for long hours at the caribou factory chewing
tough hide into soft pieces of leather to make warm clothing for the village.
Her gums and teeth were always sore and this made her cranky. Inukshook
knew when to stay out of her way, but Inukshook was just a kid and sometimes
forgot to pitch in and help around the igloo. For example, Inukshook never
wanted to sweep the floor or make the bed. Instead, Inukshook wanted to
practice hunting, sledding and skating.
One day, Inukshook's mother came home from work a little later than usual
and was especially tired. She expected that Inukshook would have had the
bed made and the floor swept, but nothing was done. To make matters worse,
there was nothing to eat in the icebox but cold blubber pizza from the
Luckily for Inukshook it was the middle of summer and the sun was still
shining brightly late into the evening. When mom was in one of these moods
it was a good idea to find Aura and get a little rainbow cheer. Mom would
get over it. She always did. Right now mom just needed a little space,
and that was exactly what Inukshook was going to give her.
Besides, Inukshook was feeling especially fast all afternoon and thought
maybe today was the day to break a record in speed skating. Inukshook
grabbed the long-bladed skates by the door and bounded out to find Aura.
YEOW! Inukshook had been inside all day watching cartoons and playing
video games, and when the cold air hit Inukshook's face it was like diving
into a deep ocean bay full of icebergs. It was sixty below zero! Sixty
below is so cold that teardrops instantly freeze on your cheeks and huge
billows of steam from your breath cloud your vision. Your cheeks tingle
as soon as you step outside, and snow crunches loudly under your boots.
Upon hitting the cold air Inukshook immediately started to tremble. Every
tooth rattled so loudly that everyone in the neighborhood could hear the
Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang! Jeez Louise.
The shaking raced in circles from the tip of Inukshook's nose to toes
and moved quickly back up both legs. It knocked together frozen knees
and shook both hips. Everything quivered including stomach, chest, shoulders,
arms, hands and neck-bones until it finally rattled Inukshook's head.
Inukshook looked and felt like a monster-sized bell getting donged with
a huge rubber mallet. Inukshook shook.
In fact, shaking is how Inukshook came to be known as Inukshook. Inukshook
wasn't the legal or proper name picked by Inukshook's mother and father.
Inukshook's real name was Inuk.
Unfortunately, Inuk shook all the time. Even when Inuk was a little baby
Inuk shook. When Inuk was just one day old Inuk shook. Inuk's mother did
everything she could to keep Inuk warm, but to no avail. Inuk shook. Inuk
shook in the morning, in the afternoon and even at suppertime.
Pretty soon everyone referred to and called Inuk, Inukshook.
Inukshook learned to live with the shiver factor. In fact Inuk never knew
any other way and for the first five years of life Inukshook thought everyone
shook. Inukshook never thought that anything was different and the quirk
was never considered a disability. It was simply a way of life. Some kids
were shorter, some heavier, some had a hard time concentrating, speaking,
seeing or hearing and some were in wheelchairs. To Inukshook though, everyone
seemed to be the same, but different, or unique.
Inukshook shook. A lot!
Everyone was unique to Inukshook -- especially bright and cheerful Aura.
In the land of the midnight sun it wasn't easy being bright, cheerful
and happy all the time. Well, OK it was pretty easy for Aura, but it was
different. Aura couldn't be sad even if something really bad happened.
For example, the day the temperature plummeted down to a kazillion below
zero Aura was still happy! It's funny, but when Aura was happy, it made
everyone close by happy too. When you think about it, being constantly
happy is a disability if you really want to be sad, especially when it's
so cold that your tongue gets accidentally frozen to the tow bar of the
family snowmobile. In a case like this, you shouldn't be happy. In fact,
you should be sad. Interestingly though Aura was always happy like a perpetual
ray of rainbow colored sunshine.
Inukshook and Aura were born on the same day and almost at the same time
in the same hospital to different mothers. They spent their first days
on earth lying together side by side in matching bassinets in the maternity
ward. When Inuk was a tiny baby and shaking like a leaf on the first day
of life it felt good to look up at the ceiling to see the bright rainbow
being radiated by Aura. It made Inuk feel happy and the shaking stopped.
Now, many years later, when Inuk needs to find a happy place and remain
calm all Inuk has to do is think of Aura. The shaking stops and Inukshook
can skate faster and ski harder than anyone on earth. It gives Inuk strength.
Inukshook draws from the special power within and focuses even harder
on being a great hunter or a worldclass Olympic champion. It's good to
have a friend like Aura. Friendship is the most valuable thing on earth.
It unites us all and makes us stronger.
Today, with mom a bit cranky Aura's friendship would come in handy dandy.
Besides, someone also had to officially witness and time the world speed
skating record Inukshook was hoping to break today on the bay. At sixty
below zero the ice would be hard, smooth and very, very fast.
It's already 7:30pm and there is only one hour to go before they both
have to be home for supper. Time is slipping away.
Inukshook thinks of Aura's happy glow and is soon as steady as the Asian
guy who paints landscapes on a grain of rice using a single horse's hair
dipped in black octopus ink. Inukshook saw it on the Internet and tried
it too, but shook so hard the rice flew all over the floor. Mom wasn't
In a heartbeat Inukshook was on Aura's doorstep and they were soon bounding
across the village to the frozen bay with Aura's dog Mush leading the
When they clambered over the last snowdrift Inukshook's heart stopped
cold. The ice was perfect all right, but half the village was there cavorting
and frolicking on the frozen bay. Everyone was having a great time skating
or playing hockey. There wasn't a patch of ice left to squeeze onto let
alone break personal best or a world record. To make matters worse the
neighborhood bully TukTuk was there too, surrounded by a rabble-rouser
gang of slackers.
The scene on the bay didn't affect Aura or Mush at all and they slid down
the snowdrift right onto the ice lickety split. Everyone moved aside to
give them room to play.
Inuk on the other hand just stood there on top of the high snow bank and
shook. Inukshook shook so hard it caused a mini avalanche. In a split
second Inukshook was tumbling headfirst onto the frozen bay with snow
crashing down all around. Inukshook came to the bay to skate, but was
now inadvertently about to break a new sledding record. Inukshook hit
the ice with a humungous thump and everyone laughed. Not a good way to
get in the right frame of mind to break a world speed skating record.
Even Aura laughed, especially when Mush starting prodding Inukshook to
get up. Mush nosed Inukshook over and over like a lumpy snowball. Each
time Inukshook rolled upside down everyone laughed harder.
It didn't take long for TukTuk to cruise up with the gang and carve a
few threatening circles in the ice around Inukshook. Inukshook started
to shake, which again made some "insensitive" people laugh.
The more Inukshook shook, the louder they laughed. The louder they laughed
the more Inukshook shook.
Thankfully Aura was quick on the scene to help Inukshook stand up, and
to spread a bit of happy rainbow cheer all around. Even TukTuk cracked
a gap-toothed smile. As TukTuk and his gang skated away Inukshook's friends
rallied around asking if this was the day to break the world record. Inukshook
was starting to lose the edge, but once friends showed interest it became
infectious and the competitive spirit bubbled back to the surface. Friends
make all the difference in the world.
Inukshook laced up the long-blade skates and soon began warming up in
long winding circles around the very outside of the bay. The ice was thin
on the outside edge of the bay, but it was also the smoothest and where
Inukshook would get the best speed. Mush led the way and cleared the path.
When Mush barked people knew Inukshook was close behind and they moved
out of the way.
Round and round Inukshook went with Aura keeping a close eye on the stopwatch.
In a short time it was obvious that Inukshook was in top Olympic form.
People in the middle of the bay stopped and watched Inukshook go round
and round and round and round. Some watched so intently they got dizzy
and fell down with a thump. Some fell so hard it cracked the ice. It wasn't
long before Inukshook was almost the only one left skating. Everyone moved
to the surrounding snow banks to watch and cheer -- except one skater.
TukTuk tucked in threateningly close on Inukshook's tail stride for stride.
The noise from the cheers was so loud that more people from the village
came to watch, even Inukshook's mother -- even Aura's mother and father
and grandmother and brother and sisters. Everyone was there. Almost the
entire village! TukTuk soon winded and fell back into the crowd with tale
tucked between tired wobbly legs. TukTuk tuckered out.
Inukshook was concentrating so hard that time flew by like it does in
a dream. Inukshook glanced up for only one brief moment when everyone
cheered especially loudly. Aura held up a frosty glove to indicate that
Inukshook was only one second away from breaking a work record. One more
lap could do it. In that instant Inukshook found more strength and started
to skate harder and with even more grace. Unfortunately, the village bully
wasn't about to let Inukshook break a record that TukTuk held for what
seemed like eternity.
As Inukshook approached the last corner TukTuk planted both skate blades
deep in the ice with the intent of knocking Inukshook off course on the
final sprint to the finish line. Inukshook was concentrating too intently
to know what was happening. Head down barreling hard around corner after
corner was all that was in Inukshook's mind. Inukshook never thought for
a moment that anyone would not be fully supportive of this incredible
glorious moment in history. Inukshook went faster and faster after each
corner. Faintly, from the farthest reaches of Inukshook's mind a voice
rose above the raucous crowd. Inukshook couldn't make it out. It sounded
very familiar, but the crowd was cheering so loud it was impossible to
hear what the voice was saying or who it was. Meanwhile, TukTuk bent down
even lower on the outside edge of the frozen bay half hidden by the crowd,
preparing to knock Inukshook head over heels.
Inukshook looked up once more to see Aura jumping up and down wildly and
yelling "You are only one one-hundredth of a second away from breaking
a world record. Skate harder." Aura was incredibly excited and everything
in the immediate vicinity glowed so brightly it was blinding. The rainbow
reflected off the faces of everyone in the crowd. The sound from Inukshook's
friends was deafening, but at the end of the rainbow one voice broke through
just slightly clearer and louder than all the rest.
Inukshook caught it only briefly in a mind's ear and could almost see
the words floating in midair carved out of frozen breath. But Inukshook
still couldn't see the person. Was it a mirage, a spirit, a guardian angel?
The voice was now as clear as a bell. It said, "Be careful my little Inuk.
Inukshook's heart leapt insanely into the air. It was Inukshook's father's
voice. Inukshook's father was there in spirit at the end of the rainbow
warning Inukshook to beware. The message was simple . . .
"Go around life's challenges. Do not try to break though.
Go around. Go around little one."
Inukshook was puzzled. Go around. Go around what? Everyone was cheering.
Everyone was supportive. The only path Inukshook saw was straight ahead
and only one one-hundredth of a second from victory. All Inukshook had
to do was push a little harder. The strength from friends cheering louder
and stronger was all Inukshook needed to break the barrier.
And then Inukshook saw TukTuk.
Suddenly, Inukshook's father's voice grew very loud, and at that same
instant the prospect of losing became overwhelming. Inukshook shook. It
was a shake that shook Inukshook to the core of life. "Go around echoed
the invisible voice."
Skate harder cheered the crowd.
No one in the crowd knew what TukTuk was preparing to do because sly TukTuk
had fooled them all and blended into the sidelines. Inukshook though could
see TukTuk digging in deeper. White, paper-thin curly ice shavings rolled
up off the sides of TukTuk's skate blades glinting forebodingly in the
sun. TukTuk had also hid a large rock under a bulky coat, and beamed a
very scary scowl that Inukshook had witnessed before, and knew to mean
only one thing.
Inukshook would have to go around, and because TukTuk was planted on the
ice so close to the crowd lining the snow bank, there was only one route
It meant going inside.
Inukshook knew that going inside meant losing precious momentum needed
to slingshot and gain that one one-hundredth of a second to world record
victory. TukTuk was only three strides away and digging in deeper. It
was now or never. Inukshook didn't know what to do and hoped that in a
brief moment a protective spirit or guardian angel would magically transport
Inukshook over or through TukTuk. Only two strides away and nothing magical
was happening. Inukshook had to make a decision and do something soon.
Only one stride away and TukTuk was now leaning into and towards Inukshook.
Steam billowed from TukTuk's flared nostrils like an angry musk ox.
The huge rock dropped from TukTuk's coat right in Inukshook's path. The
crowd could now see what was happening and gasped so loud it sent a huge
shiver into Inukshook. The world went silent. Inukshook shook so hard
the ice cracked and the rock broke through the ice.
It was at this last deciding moment that a shake shook so hard it threw
Inukshook off course and to the inside. Somehow, maybe through the hand
of a guardian angel Inukshook shook past danger as TukTuk plunged through
the hole and into the icy cold water. TukTuk bobbed in desperation pointing
a vengeful finger towards Inukshook who was now racing frantically towards
the finish line in the distance.
Everyone cheered so loudly that Inukshook shook again, only this time
it was so hard that all timing was thrown off. Inukshook was now two one-hundredths
of a second behind the world record and had no energy left to do another
lap or enough ice left to make up time before crossing the finish line.
Inukshook could see defeat loooooming only a short heartbeat away. Inukshook
shook so hard it was impossible to see. Tears started to well up and the
noise of the crowd became deafening. Confusion and frustration shook every
bone an Inukshook's body. Timing was off, speed was off. The world record
was slipping away. Inukshook's heart was melting through the ice. To lose
now would mean to lose respect of the village.
But there, once more emanating from the crowd was an even brighter rainbow.
As Inukshook shook, and with every stride the rainbow became brighter
and spread with equal intensity to all of Inukshook's family and friends.
It wasn't just Aura lighting the way. It was everyone in the village.
Everyone in the village sent energy and hope straight into Inukshook's
heart. All Inukshook's friends and family channeled all their energy into
every muscle and every fiber of Inukshook's being.
Inukshook shook so hard it brought energy to every muscle in every stride.
One shake, one push. One shake, another stride. Now victory was only one
one-hundredth of a second away and less than ten strides to go. Shake
Inukshook. Shake! Everyone cheered. Shake! Shake! Shake! Inukshook shook
harder than ever.
As Inukshook leaned forward in one last explosive surge towards the finish
line the hands of every one of Inukshook's friends and family collectively
came together to push gently, but firmly against the wishful Olympian's
back. It was all Inukshook needed to become a village hero and champion.
As Inukshook's nose crossed the finish line time stood still for TukTuk
too, for at that same instant TukTuk turned to stone.
Forever frozen in the ice TukTuk became a perpetual beacon pointing the
way to victory for time eternal.
Happily though, the spirit of friendship was also frozen in time ...
... and Inukshook lived forever in everyone's hearts.
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