Andy Kostka: The Competitor & Rival

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The Competitor & Rival

Andy and I were to race at the Oval on the morning he passed away.  Skaters were surprised he wasn’t in attendance, and calls to his cell phone went unanswered.  It wasn’t until races finished that we eventually learned of his heart-wrenching passing.  The last time I was with him was a week earlier at a dry land session he led.  The hour summed up how I will remember him: he was serious but quick with a disarming wise crack, and focused on getting through the workout so he could get home to his family and his daughter’s birthday party.

2012 was an incredible season on skates for Andy.  It began on ice as he qualified for the U.S. Masters team.  He followed it up with an amazing finish on Madeline Island and closed the season with the lead pack in a triumphant finish in Duluth.  Andy had an inspirationally strict and rigorous workout regiment, both off skates and on his skates (often at Elm Creek) that was nearly unmatched.

In many ways Andy was my biggest inline rival.  There were days it didn’t matter if it took me an hour and a half to finish a marathon, so long as it took Andy an hour thirty one.  We pushed each other.  Last year Ovid tried to run a training skate on the Greenway;  Andy and I turned it into a duel as we took turns hammering as hard as we could and then standing up hoping we had finally dropped the other – neither of us could.  When I said in a prior post that “we celebrate each other’s accomplishments and use them as motivation as we pursue our own inline goals,” it was Andy I was referring to.

While we were fiercely competitive, at the end of every race one of us would have the honor of rolling up to the other and with a pat on the back and a smirking grin say “nice job out there today.”  You need rivals in life; they motivate you, focus you, and force you to be the best you can be.  I am going to truly miss mine.

One thing we always knew about Andy was that skating was very important.  But it was clearly never the most important thing to him, which was his family.   My heart goes out to those who knew him best: his teammates, his coworkers, and his grieving family.  Inliners will feel this loss now and in the future, when he isn’t on the podium next to us or leading the breakaway, but his family and close friends will feel the loss all the days of their lives.  May your thoughts and prayers be with them at this time.

May he rest in peace.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Andy Kostka’s Children’s Education Fund in care of Wells Fargo Bank.

Andy was a frequent contributor at inlineskatempls.com, for example, last off-season we worked together to create the new Minnesota Inline Grand Prix scoring system.

Here are a couple Andy Kostka posts:

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The formal Obituary can be found here.

Funeral Arrangements are as follows:

Services

Memorial Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church (105 Forestview Lane N., Plymouth) on Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 at 10 AM with visitation beginning at 9 AM.

Visitation

Visitation at Kozlak-Radulovich Maple Grove Chapel (13745 Reimer Dr.) on Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 from 5-8 PM

Memorials

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Andy Kostka’s Children’s Education Fund in care of Wells Fargo Bank.

 

 

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