How do I Overcome a Misstep? (with inspiration from Jeremy Abbott)
I started skating in 1997 when I was four. I distinctly remember because my first performance consisted of me donning a bright yellow duck outfit and skating to the rubber ducky song from Sesame Street. Luckily, my future performances were less brash and I went on to earn a good 15-20 trophies in competition, even qualifying for Jr. Nationals around age 9. But I had lost sight of why I was doing it, and thinking it was not really my passion, I decided to quit instead.
I began regretting this decision a couple years back when I began University, but never enough to do much about it beyond buying a better fitting pair of blades and occasioning the campus Ice Rink. But a profound pang of remorse hit me this past Friday when, working a crap job at the dining commons, I happened to see Jeremy Abbott's Free Skate Performance for the olympics. I had just stopped to clean some tables nearby and could have just as easily missed his beautiful performance. But his understated costume and general manner caught my eye as he skated to center ice to begin his program. I looked on, swaying with his graceful movements, smiling and clapping with every jump and spin. I teemed with admiration at the sight of the pride, the dedication, and the passion in his eyes as skated away with my soul. I was completely mesmerized by Jeremy's performance and immediately I felt a mixture of deep regret and hopeful longing for my forgotten pastime.
Having never heard of Jeremy before (I have not really watched figure skating since I stopped competing), I looked him up. It was then that I discovered the tragic story of his devastating fall in the preceding night's short program. I sifted through the full Men's short program broadcast on the NBC website to see this defining moment in his career, this moment, where heartbroken and defeated, Jeremy overcame the disappointment and physical pain of his mistake, instantaneously re-coordinated his elements, and finished with a truly inspiring performance.
Now I, too, made a mistake many years ago. I gave up something that I now realize could have been a grand passion and an incredible experience for me. But at the moment I saw the look of determination on Jeremy's face as he grappled with the wall to right himself, I knew that I wanted to do the same. I wanted to surmount my misstep, to do what I could to right the wrong I had made in my own career.
So now I am considering reentering competitive figure skating. I can skate backwards, stop, do crossovers, three turns- basically all the stuff up through Basic 6, which I have more or less retained due to my recreational skating and an inherent sense of balance and grace on the ice. I am also single-minded and driven in the pursuit of my goals and having won a national championship for Academic Decathlon (a rigorous ten subject tournament of intellect) in high school, I have no doubt that I can persevere through the many hardships I will undoubtedly face in this endeavor.
But my question here is how many hardships will those be. How realistic is this goal to get back into competitive skating as a twenty year old woman? What is the best way to get back in the game? What do you see as possible challenges? How can I persevere here just as Jeremy did; how can I get back up and keep on skating?
Advice is appreciated. Thanks!
It honestly depends on your goals. Wanting to get back into it is half the battle. I quit for 11 years because of school and establishing a career (skating is expensive especially with student loans and time consuming). I've lost all my triples although its a goal of mine to improve my overall skating and work back to what I had.
There are adult competitions. Certainly not at the level of elite skating but if you want to compete and get back on the ice and challenge yourself, it seems like you've got the right attitude.
You shouldn't be hard on yourself for stopping skating. Life gets in the way and a very small percentage of athletes can afford the time or the costs. For many it's an expensive crapshoot. There are many fulfilling ways to continue skating though, and you'll never know unless you get back on the ice.
As a 20-year old woman you're still really young, too. With the right fitness and training regime you could theoretically get back into a fairly competitive shape.
It's not a huge mistake to take up a sport in youth and decide not to go through with it in adulthood.
It's also not a stupid goal to be the best skater you can be. Just because you'll never go to the Olympics doesn't mean there's no point in taking up a sport. Aside from the obvious health benefits, adult skaters can be very competitive, and there are real competitions for people who aren't <18 years old. You'd be surprised how good you can get with a year's worth of consistent practice and moderate work.
Besides, no one that young gets to elite levels without being prodded and pushed by their crazy stage moms anyway You have the advantage of being able to skate without Mama Evermelon screaming at you at every practice.