Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Figure Skating Old School Style

Sorry it has been awhile since I last wrote. I have been so busy with kids, work and have had no inspiration actually. Until yesterday...

My coach and I have been kinda dabbling with the Adult Silver MIFs for about a year and a half now. We work on them on and off (mostly off) but lately we have been working on them quite consistently. I have the forward cross rolls down pretty well and the back cross rolls are coming along. My spirals are good to go. The eight-step is horrid mostly because the outside edge on the mohawk is driving me crazy. We have not really work too much on the power pulls. I have the concept down but struggle getting the rip. Worst of all for me are the three turns in the field.

Yesterday my coach decided to break it down old school! We actually did patch for 30 minutes! Doing this pattern over and over again was difficult - don't get me wrong - but totally eye opening. I actually felt the back push into the circle - a revelation. It was like the skating goddess was shining down on me at that moment. A beautiful thing.

Now I know that the old school figures were boring for judges to watch, tedious for skaters and silly for a television audience, but USFSA had to just get rid of them? While the MIFs have some of the same type of skills embedded in them, there is something to be said for the practice of the very thing that made this sport FIGURE skating instead of just ICE skating. I remember watching Dorothy Hamill doing compulsory figures and saying to my mom, "I want to do that." Scott Hamilton writes about his experience with figures in his most recent book. How they helped shape him as a skater and as a person. Figures take patience, diligence, and a sense of calm that is lacking for most skaters today. I can't imagine my daughter standing on a square of ice, tracing the same pattern over and over again for hours until it was perfect. I wish I could - but that is not what skating is today.

So, I will do my patch as the kid almost runs me over in her double lutz and the rest of the skaters pass me by. I will do my figures with patience and hope that I can use them to make me a better skater and ultimately a better person.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Thankfully I was able to pull myself together and skate a clean artistic program this morning. I felt good - had fun and even flirted with the judges.

After my absolute melt-down on Friday, I have decided that I need to stop being such a baby and just work harder.

My coach knows what I am capable of doing and I need to trust her judgement.

My plan is to work to pass my Bronze Free test by the end of the summer and move forward.

Not much else to say.

I will keep you posted!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sasquatch on Ice

Step right up folks! Grab your ticket for Sasquatch on Ice - or should I say Sasquatchette on Ice. She is dressed in a pretty blue dress and has great music. Her legs turn to jello and can't push or crossover. Her shoulders are up around her ears and her back is hunched over.

I guess you can tell that I didn't have the greatest outing today. I thought that anything would be an improvement over the last competition where I forgot the last third of my program, but alas, I managed to make it worse. I didn't fall, but the program was slow and it looked like I had forgotten how to skate!

I really don't know why I compete. I hate every minute of it. I hate how my knees and legs hurt after skating a million hours a week to get ready. I hate that I have to "push" myself by putting more difficult elements in my program that make me ten thousand times more nervous. I hate the way I feel when I warm-up. I hate feeling like a fool when I skate horribly. I hate feeling that I look like a crappy skater to my friends and family. I guess I just hate it.

People always ask me if I had fun after I skated my program. The answer about 95% of the time is "no." It is agonizing and I can't wait to get off of the ice. I can't wait to go and get my skates and dress off and get the heck out of there. I love skating. I love my coach. I hate competition.

I started competing because I didn't think that I was that bad of a skater. I thought that I was pretty good, in fact. Competing has literally scrubbed that out of me. I feel like I need to go back to the drawing board and start building from the ground up. Honestly I have no idea what I need to do. Sit and reassess, I guess.

I have my artistic program on Sunday. I like that program. I have fun skating that program. Maybe I will have a more uplifting post Sunday afternoon.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

My beloved coach went to go and play in the snow this past weekend. I always worry that she will end up with a giant cast on and won't be able to coach me for an extended period of time. I know, selfish - I also would never want to see her get hurt either. I wished and wished that she would get back in town in time for my lesson today. I got the Facebook message that she busted her butt to get to the airport in time and there she was, almost on cue, for my lesson today.

She asked if it was OK that she take me for the entire hour today. Really? Won't Muffet be upset? No, Muffet said, "Mom, I want to give my lesson to you today." OK - here we go...

Three full run-throughs later I am pooped out and can hardly lift my legs to put my guards on. How do people do long programs? I watched Mirai skate on Sunday and she was throwing triples after having a jump lesson in the morning and this was her third or fourth hour of skating. Yeah, yeah - I am not 16 any more - that is for sure. But jeez! My body is saying, "What in the bleepity bleep was THAT all about?"

So, the moral of the story is be careful what you wish for. I wanted to have my lesson today - and boy did I get it!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Back in the Groove

I finally feel like I am regaining some sanity both in my personal life and on the ice. It too a major knock-down-drag-out to shake me into realizing that the doldrums I was experiencing a few weeks ago was connected with other events in my life. I am happy to report that I am on the mend and the doldrums are behind me now.

Today I may have not skated a perfect program, but pieces of it are really starting to feel "right." Does that make sense? Footwork that a few weeks ago my coach threatened to make "easier" now feels like second nature. The camel spin in place of the sit feels like it belongs there. The toe loop that I used to freak out about doing as it is done from a balls-out spiral entrance seems like no big whoop now. It is such a great feeling. That the flip is the only element now that is causing me grief makes me feel on top of the world.

To top this all off, my little Muffet passed her Preliminary MIFs Thursday and is so close to landing that axel clean that it is hurting our feelings. I have never seen her work so hard on the ice and it is so beautiful. She doesn't realize it, but she is my inspiration each and every day. I cried so hard when I watched Joannie Rochette skate mostly because I would never want to miss seeing my baby reach her goals in life. I think Muffet is rather amazing.

So, here is to another great week of work towards Adult Sectionals in about two weeks. I feel way more prepared than I did for the first competition of the season. Finally I am back in the groove!