We Get Up: The Toughness of a Skater

“It’s this practice of learning from constant failure that allows skaters to grow and develop and become great skaters and champions. As skaters, we always do that. We fall down, we get up, we fail and we figure out a better way to do things. We hone our skills and we hone the way we approach things, and I love that about skating.” ~ Scott Hamilton

Happy Friday

Hello, Hello, friends! Happy Friday! Are you ready for the weekend yet? I feel like this has been a long week! I am currently typing this as we get deluged with another snowstorm! Twice in one week, but I do think this is worse than the one earlier since it has been snowing since last night. Is it summer yet? I am so ready! Something else I am ready for are the Olympics! Which I am also watching as I write this! If you have followed me for any length of time, you know how much I love the Olympics and how excited I am for them, especially the Winter Games. I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding these particular games for a whole host of reasons, but I am so proud of the athletes and in absolute awe of my friends who have worked so hard to get there and against so many odds.

It was only fitting that National Get Up Day was on February 1 only three days before the games began. What is National Get Up Day you might ask? Well it is a day in figure skating that is dedicated to the perseverance and hard work of skaters and athletes. After all, the olympians we see today weren’t always the best, they, like all of us, had to start at the beginning and then they worked so hard, fought against so many odds to be not just at the top of their sport, but to even be on the olympic stage. They really are the strongest and toughest of us all.

Once a Skater Girl

I have written about my love for skating, and while I just do it recreationally now, the lessons it taught me have stayed with me fifteen years after I hung up my skates competitively, not to date myself or anything. I actually started skating on the town’s outdoor rink, as it was a few years before they finally built an indoor rink and the rest was history. Much to my coaches chagrin later on, I learned on double blades and was barely able to move due to the snowsuit my Mom had put me in. I could have been that kid in a Christmas Story. I skated with my sister who was five yers older and the contrast in age was very apparent. I was the daredevil, wanting to learn all the jumps and not caring about fitness, while she was all about the grace and execution. There was nothing like learning a jump or a spin, and there was nothing like the adrenaline rush I got when I landed it. Skating combines athleticism with artistry and while there are sports that are similar, none match the caliber of skating and the boundaries that are continuously being pushed, with quads, spins, and scores that are constantly breaking records.

While I love skating, admittedly there were days, especially as a kid, when I didn’t want to go skating and the training that it entailed. My Mom who told me I had made a commitment (and she was right) and coach would make me. I didn’t want to do the drills, the endless practice of crossovers and three turns and twizzles, moves that as an adult I can now see were designed tomato me stronger and more precise, but as a kid just seemed tedious. There were days where I definitely asked myself WHY I did it, at times it felt like a love-hate relationship, it wasn’t enjoyable, and the thing about skating is that it can showcase your inadequacies, and insecurities and screw-ups and usually it does it in an epic fashion where you are on display and everyone can see your fuck-ups.

Always get back up

And yet, my Mom would always say finish this season out and then you can quit. And I never did, at least not until fractures in my landing foot forced me too. To quote the Notebook, I just couldn’t quit skating, and I am so happy I didn’t. Even now, I can’t quit it. Whether it was from the frustration of training, or not being able to land a jump, or maybe it was just a day where I was one with the ice, whatever it was, in spite of all of that I would pick myself up (albite grudgingly) and continue, (again grudgingly) until I did get it, and the euphoria I felt in those moments far outweighed the bad. Skating taught me to never give up. That we all fall, it is part of the human experience, but it is how you get back up that defines us and sets our paths in motion. If I hadn’t had skating I don’t know that I would be the person I am today. I know I wouldn’t be as tough. And I don’t know that I would have been able to get through some of the toughest moments in my life, if I hadn’t been a skater girl.

Because once you get passed the frills, and even the awe of being able to throw yourself in the air and then land on what is a literal blade, there is both a physical as well as a mental toughness you have to have. One of the first things I teach, when I coach skating, is that the ice is your friend. In actuality it is all perspective. Because the ice can either be your friend or your enemy, either way you are going to have to get cozy with it, and you might as well take the more friendly perspective then the hostile one. Because as human’s we all begin somewhere, and usually that is going to involve falls, if it is skating, it is going to involve quite a lot of falls. But the beauty is getting up, trying again, and again, and again. And discovering something new each and every time.

It isn’t so much about perfecting the movement, or getting a medal. No the sweetest part truly is the journey and how much strength, courage, and perseverance, we learn we have within ourselves. That despite all of our doubts and insecurities, we can triumph over, push through, and accomplish anything. Any athlete knows that, but the Olympians embody it. As I watch the Olympics the next sixteen days, it isn’t the medals that the athletes will win that matters, though for the athletes’ sakes I hope they do accomplish their dreams, but it is their journeys, the growth they have done, and how the are inspiring us all to our fullest potential and never ever give up. I hope you have an amazing weekend friends!

What are your weekend plans? Will you be watching any of the Olympics? Did you play a winter sport?

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2 thoughts on “We Get Up: The Toughness of a Skater

  1. I like the idea of bundling up like the Christmas Story kid for skating – probably the only way I’d get back on the ice! I’ve always been jealous of people who could ice skate…I’m hopeless at it

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