The Pains and Joys of Figure Skating

Every figure skater has their favourite competition. Be it the regionals, the nationals or a local club competition, there was one that always excited you.

While I was always excited to be at the regionals, and my local club competition was a blast, my favourite competition was the final competition of the year: The Stony Mountain Club Competition.

Today, the competition is referred to as Stony Mountain on Ice and it brings together skaters across the province. When I was skating, it was like a regional without the figures. We were grouped by free skate level and age, which was to my benefit. I may have only been in Senior Bronze, but the most competitors I was ever up against at Stony were six.

Because this was the competition of the year, it was a great chance to boost your medal count for the year. And when there were only three people to compete against, you were guaranteed.

My final Stony Mountain competition was in 1994. I returned to the ice just eight weeks earlier after a health issue sidelined my skating for the second time in two years. However, I decided I was ready to compete again.

There were five competitors in Juvenile Women including myself. As I took to the ice for my warm up, I just remember practicing my double-toe loop. There was something wrong with my take off. I realized I’d slipped into my old habit again of literally stopping myself, picking and propelling myself forward. My coach called me over, and she told me to just pull back. I tried the jump again and landed it, flawlessly.

When it was time for me to take to the ice, I felt confident I could at least challenge for a medal. I’d taken pretty much the entire season off due to health issues, but I was a relatively strong jumper.

Phantom of the Opera, my program that year, began, and I opened with a Axel. The rest of the program seemed to go alright, but as I inched, literally inched, because I didn’t have nearly the speed I should have for a double-toe loop, towards the double, I used the same technique that I had concocted. One –and three-fourths rotations later, my butt was on the ice.

And I don’t think I realized where I was at first. I had a dazed look on my face as I rose and continued my program, bowed and got off the ice. Out of five competitors, I place fourth. Sure, I could say it’s not bad considering I didn’t skate 90 per cent of the season, or something else to console myself. But the truth is, I’ve always hated fourth place. It’s that so close is what hurts the most placing.

I watch the video of that final competition every once in a while. Just for a laugh, because you can see when I lost that medal. I’ll even pause it and say to my husband, “honey, right…there.”

I am a competitor in almost every facet of life. Especially in school when it comes to marks, awards and internships. If I get an A, and someone else gets a higher A, I feel disappointed in myself. I actually cried over a B+ because I was half a point away from an A. Ironically it was over a story about a local synchronized figure skating team.

Maybe I expect too much out of myself. Or maybe, I used to be a figure skater.

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