The Olympics always bring up old emotions for me because I ice skated throughout middle school and high school. I wasn’t amazing at skating; I could sometimes land double jumps and my synchronized skating team came in last at all but one competition. I started skating when I was 13, which is OLD for figure skaters. My uncle skated for many years and suggested that my two cousins and I enrolled in a class, just for fun. I never thought skating would become such an integral part of my life, but I was hooked after the first lesson. Before ice skating, I never played sports or considered myself to be athletic at all. The other kids yelled at me in gym class because I didn’t want to try during games. I didn’t believe I had skills, so I decided not to care. Everything changed when I started rapidly progressing through skating levels. Each level had a few moves to master; I made it my mission to practice each move until I could do it consistently. I learned through skating that everyone has to start somewhere. You can’t immediately expect to be Michelle Kwan.
I skated as the Marionette Doll in the Nutcracker on Ice 🙂 The way I saw myself was never the same after figure skating. I thought people would judge me for being the oldest person in my skating class or reject me for my lack of abilities. People reached out to help me, told me they were proud of me for the tiniest accomplishments, and wanted to hang out with me outside of practice. I always thought athletic situations were negative because people usually yelled at me whenever I participated in them. As a kid, it was huge for me to have a support system within the sport. I still have a couple good friends from skating to this day! After a while, group lessons became less helpful and I needed a coach. My coach, Kristen, was so supportive and really helped me improve upon my skills 🙂 My parents complained a lot about how expensive this was, but they let me do it anyway. News Flash: skating is EXPENSIVE. This is partially why I quit in college. I didn’t have a car to get to an ice rink, either. Quitting was sort of heart breaking for me because I needed an athletic outlet. Luckily I started running 🙂 Anyway, back to other things about skating… I wasn’t very competitive. I joined a synchronized skating team and competed around the Chicago area with them, but rarely ever competed on my own. I was much more interested in ICE SHOWS. We did The Nutcracker and a Spring show every year. I loved doing those shows… Mostly because of the glitter 🙂
There was nothing quite like spending an entire weekend with my friends wearing tutus and skating! The social aspect of skating was awesome. I think I miss the community skating offered more than the actual activity. Running could probably be similar if I ran in a group, but my schedule doesn’t accommodate most of the groups I’ve researched. Maybe someday! I guess what I’m trying to say is that skating is more than just the Olympics. I found a way to skate for fun and not competition, met amazing people, and learned that I am both physically and mentally strong. I think the most important thing I learned is that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to – as long as I’m diligent, patient, and passionate. Is there anything else you want to know about skating? I feel like I barely scratched the surface with this post.