Thrilled to welcome young athletes

What a joy — hundreds of young people from all over the planet are coming to Lake Placid this weekend to compete in the winter version of the International Children’s Games. We welcome them to the Adirondacks and hope they and their families have a great time here, not only competing but in making new friends and opening their eyes to the world.

The age range of ICG athletes is 12 and 15 years old — a vivid time, saturating all aspects of human nature in bright hues of emotion.

It is a brilliant age, full of wonders. Kids’ brains and bodies are accelerating at full speed, although they haven’t necessarily reached peak performance. Intellectually they often have the learning speed of a child but with a younger child’s limitations removed. Physically they are gaining size, strength and skill, but are still lightweight — kind of like a sports car with a new driver, and all the thrills and danger that entails.

It certainly can be a difficult age, as most of us can attest. As kids gradually shift from childish ways to those of adults, they don’t always understand the changes in themselves and the world around them. They have new powers they’re testing out, sometimes on each other, sometimes recklessly. They can be cruel.

While on one hand they may be unaware of the consequences of their actions, they also can be hypersensitive to them as they realize how hard life can be — without yet gaining an adult’s sense of perspective and learning to roll with the punches. This can make them over-anxious, moody and downright depressed.

Top all this with puberty, and things really come to a boil.

Yet they are also filled with goodness, love and idealism, and their logic can cut through the adult world’s rules. They have a fresh outlook on what works and what doesn’t.

It’s also an age when sports is often a special interest.

The ICG is sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, like the Youth Olympics. But these games are for younger people, and meeting new people is a higher priority than winning.

We are especially glad to to have them here.