Picture a little redhead holding on for dear life.
Being the shortest skater on the precision team meant that I was usually stuck at the end of the pinwheel. And as much as I loved how fast we went, it was a relief when it was over. I was always worried that I would fly off the end and land on my butt in front of the crowd. We had an ice show every March.
I used to throw up every show. I was so nervous to be in front of others that being nauseous became a part of the tradition. The most memorable was the year I was dressed as a robot in a large cardboard box. Worried that I wouldn’t get to the washroom in time, my Auntie Lynne picked me up and rushed a large silver box through the crowd. It’s funny because I’m still not a fan of being in front of others. I prefer to be behind the scenes.
For those who were in figure skating too, you will remember the uniform. Spandex. Spandex everything. Short spandex skating skirts. Full out spandex dresses with long sleeves. For young girls going through puberty and super self-conscious of their bodies, strapping on a skin tight spandex dress was just cruel. It’s the reason I quit skating.
Don’t get me wrong, if I loved it enough, I would have kept going. I did love the feeling of opening the arena door and stepping out into the ice surface. There was an instant blast of cold air and it was quiet. With very few voices, only the sounds of skate blades scraping the ice could be heard. It was peaceful.
And yet, I didn’t want to compete. I wasn’t interested in being judged for different badges. I also didn’t think I was as good as the other girls (and I wasn’t). I was not attempting the same jumps and my sit spin was never low enough. For me, I was just happy to skate.
A note to my kids:
If you enjoy it, keep doing it. Compare your skills to where you were before, not to other people. You need to do it for your own reasons.