Skating Fridays

Sectionals, Part 1

I am back from my Sectionals event and am ready to give you a summary of how the weekend went. This year’s event was a bit crazy, since there were 30 (!) ladies entered in my championship event and 39 ladies in the Silver event. Since there were so many competitors, they had to extend the schedule out by a day.

The day before my competition, I could not spin to save my life. I had a lesson and complained to my coach about it and she told me to cover over to the boards. She took one look at my blades and said that I had no rocker left and needed new blades ASAP. Um, that was not going to happen with 24 hours before my competition. I made an emergency call to my blade guy and he was able to shave off part of my bottom toe pick and create a rocker for the time being. I wasn’t going to be able to skate on it until the day of the competition so I was nervous and anxious.

We arrived one day earlier than planned so that I could attend my official practice ice at 7:25 the next morning. I ran through my program and missed a few elements and then tried to go back to the hotel to relax. My blade felt fine during the warmup, thankfully. A friend sent me inspirational messages, and I attempted to take a nap (I didn’t actually fall asleep, but it felt good to just chill).

As I started to get ready for my event, I felt some butterflies in my stomach. But I tried to take the attitude that I had nothing to lose. I knew that making the championship round for the weekend would be a long shot, so I might as well attempt to execute every difficult element I had planned.

I lost a coworker to Lou Gehrig’s disease just a week before the event, and when I took the ice to wait for the announcer to call my name, a vision of him appeared in my mind. He was smiling at me, and I told him that I’d skate for him. Then I took my starting position.

I am proud to report that I finally was able to skate in the moment. This has been a constant struggle, where I typically think ahead to the future or dwell on the past. I took each element one by one and skated the final performance of this program. While my spins weren’t “on,” (the ice was a bit wonky that day and I was also nervous about my faux rocker) I was able to execute both of my axels and receive full credit for them. By the end of the program, I knew that I had achieved my goals for the day.

Once the scores were finally posted, I was in shock that I had earned 6th place out of a very strong group of 13 ladies in my qualifying round. They were going to take the top 4 ladies from each qualifying group and then the next top 4 scores for the championship round the next morning. I essentially was “on the bubble” for the next top 4 scores. It was a very exciting position to be in, and not one in a million years that I’d ever thought I’d part of.

As the events came to a close, I was excited for the possibility of being able to skate in the championship round. But alas, I came in 13th place overall and missed the championship round by 1 placement. Nevertheless, I was not disappointed, but more excited that I was able to even be considered for that honor. I was beyond thrilled to have earned a personal best and overcome my mental hurdles for several elements. This was definitely a huge win for me. I’m excited to build on this foundation and hope that my mental game continues to improve.

Next week I will recap the other two events I competed in. In the meantime, here is a video that my friend took of my freestyle event.


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