Okay, I'm finally sitting down to write about my 2nd anniversary of starting skating. Sorry for the loooong post!
I'm very fortunate, I think, to have had this blog the whole time I've been skating. It really is amazing for me to read back and see and remember where I've been. It really does help to put things in perspective. Here's the link to my last Skativersary post
. It's also interesting sometimes to read back through my lessons with Anna and see how some of the things I'm working on have been things I constantly work on, and others not.
When I was at the rink on Saturday, Cass (Tate's mom) was actually on the ice, along with Addie (Mariah's/Veronica's/Heaven's mom). They were being brave! I told Cass it was my Skativersary. She said she remembered my very first lesson! Eeep! She said I was pathetic! It's true. But, she said, I got right out there, no wall-crawling, which is also true.
My last Skativersary was a bit bittersweet, since I was in the middle of 2 months off the ice with a broken wrist. It was not fun, and it took me a while to get over that. In the last 12 months, though, I've definitely upped my commitment and effort -- I went to two lessons a week, and started attending freestyle sessions. I went from skating 3 times a week or so, to 5 or 6. I've also made a lot of new friends, performed in the holiday show, and helped out at the competition in March.
There are a lot of things I've fallen short on -- from the goals I had last year, I've only accomplished half of them (waltz jump and holiday show). I still haven't tested, and competition seems a ways off for me -- maybe as much as a year, maybe a little more even. I'm not even sure how I would get to actually compete against other men at this point -- it will certainly require travel and thus be expensive (no WAY am I doing my first competition without Anna!).
I think, though, in some ways I am settling in as a skater. I certainly have gained a lot of skills since last year, although not as many as one might think. Mostly, the skills that I have are much more solid and assured -- better edges, better stroking, more speed, more power. I'm still not happy with some things (can you say "crossovers"? I knew you could!). I still compare myself to other skaters (adults AND kids), but less often. The fact of the matter is that I don't have a great deal of natural talent, but what I do have in abundance is determination, perseverance, fortitude, and most fundamentally, a love of skating. Being a single man with no children and some amount of job flexibility :-), I've been able to pour time and money into my skating in a way that many adults cannot. So, I have made progress. Not as fast as I would like (after all, I STILL don't have the darn scratch spin entrance!) but it's measurable and noticeable, even by me.
It's been interesting to me to note that there is a lot of turnover in adult skaters, and then there's a core. I see people signed up for skate school in the adult classes (I'm not in them), but for the most part the adults that I see are in the "core group" and they are the same people that have been watching me skate for 2 years now; the skate school people usually (not always) seem to take a class or two and then disappear. It's strange. Being so addicted to skating myself, it's hard to understand anyone *not* wanting to skate.
3Turn asked a while back how I decided to start skating. When I was working on finishing my thesis for my master's degree, I kept being tempted by other things that seemed more interesting. In the interest of actually finishing my degree (it took me 8 years!), I started making a list with the intention that when I was done with school I could start doing some of those "fun" things. The initial list looked something like this:
- ice skating
I graduated in December 2001. I started learning rollerblading seriously in spring of 2002 (I think I had done a little before that with a previous girlfriend), when I bought my own rollerblades. While I enjoyed it, and I took lessons at Fast Eddie's Skate School, it was a little daunting to find time, especially since this is Tucson, and it gets hot fast. Eventually I was going late at night. I never got particularly good, and in July of 2002 I fell and broke my right arm (a radial head fracture). Right after I recovered from that (it was a relatively minor injury, just a sling for a few weeks) I was laid off. After I got a new job I was temporarily too busy and preoccupied to get back into rollerblading. Finally I checked out the ice rink and signed myself up for lessons starting in May of 2003, and the rest is history, as they say.
I see I may not have really answered the question. Why ice skating? I don't know. I had never been on the ice in my life, and to the best of my knowledge none of my siblings had either. We grew up in Arizona and such things are not a big part of most people's consciousness. I had been skiing in the past, but that's it for winter sports. I do know that I really enjoyed watching Michelle Kwan in the '98 Olympics, and started following figure skating more seriously with the 2002 Olympics. I always admired the grace, the artistry, the strength and skill. I was not (am not) a horribly athletic person, and I'm not particularly graceful or coordinated (it shows in my skating, unfortunately); I'm not much of a dancer either although I do enjoy it. I am a musician and do have a sense of rhythm and timing, though, which has often helped. And of course, I have a great deal of willpower and stubbornness ;-).
What do I like most about skating? I like the feeling of the cold wind in my face; the feeling of holding an edge; I love the feeling of a (good) 3-turn; I love a good, centered spin; and yes, I love that signature move
of mine! And of course I love the wonderful people I've met -- my coach, of course, but also Nicole and all my skating buddies young and old who are so much fun to be around.
Who knows where I'll be next year? I'm not going to set time frames for my goals anymore -- it doesn't seem to really help. Some things just take time. My real goals are to work hard, play hard, and enjoy the process. Stop and smell the ice! :-)
May you have smooth ice and sharp blades!