Every moment of the day precious; capture each one as best as you can. Belmont Abbey alum Michael Motley ’69 tries to instill these words into his children every day. Michael’s children, Natalie and Colin Motley, have both shown strong interest in inline skating since a very young age. Natalie, now 24, began skating at seven years old. Through her hard work and determination, Natalie is a ten time Federation Internationale Roller Sports (FIRS) world champion and national champion in USA Roller Sports. Colin, 17, first became interested in the sport while watching his older sister practice and compete. Under the tutelage of his mother Christie, Colin has also achieved his dream of becoming the World Class Inline Men’s Champion.
To many, roller skating is nothing more than a hobby, but to the Motleys, it is a love. Natalie and Colin have put in countless hours of practice to be able to perform at the world class level. Their passion and drive have provided them a number of opportunities to travel and see the world. Competitions have taken the Motleys as far as Germany, Spain, Italy and even China. The travel has majorly impacted the family’s perspective on the world and the USA. Their experience in China brought a greater appreciation for the diversity we have in the United States. “We were surprised how we stood out. It was easy to see we were different only because we were tall,” Michael recalled. The family took advantage of the two-week period, visiting Beijing and seeing the Great Wall of China and capturing every moment of this special time together.
However, all the success Natalie and Colin have achieved has not been without some adversity. Their father, who has seen his children deal with many wins and losses, always tells them, “There will be downtimes, reflect on those things and be encouraged to do better.” Before winning his first world championship, Colin was defeated and finished second the two previous years. Not letting those back to back second place finishes deter him, Colin’s hard work and persistence finally paid off when he earned his first world title the following year. Natalie also met challenges on her road to the world championships was hindered by injury. Over the past couple of years Natalie has dealt with knee and hip pain. After several examinations, she was diagnosed with hairline factures in both her knee and hip just two weeks before the national championships. Pushing through the pain of her injuries, Natalie was still able to win the national and world championships.
Michael believes what he learned at Belmont Abbey has been passed down to his children and can be seen in the way they live their lives. He says discipline has played a key factor: “When I started at the Abbey I didn’t have much discipline. Over a period of time, the Abbey helped develop my discipline. And my children have been able to translate their discipline in the sport to their education and their life. Discipline keeps you out of trouble and keeps you on the right path.” That, combined with a passion for their sport, has formed his children into the world champions they are. “They never stop, both are very committed to their sport,” Michael says. “I have my wife to thank for that–she goes 24 hours a day.” And every day is precious.