I’ve been skating for as long as I can remember. I also danced, and did gymnastics, but figure skating always remained my favorite thing to do. In mid 2015, I made the difficult choice to stop skating for a little bit. With high school coming up, and many changes approaching in my life, I had to put the sport on hold temporarily. I missed skating dearly, but I pushed those feelings down and focused on school, and joining new clubs and organizations at school. In late 2015, I had the unfortunate experience of tearing my ACL. The next 8 months were painful. They seemed to drag on forever, but in November 2016, I was finally cleared to return to intense sports.
In December, I was flipping through T.V. channels and came across a skating competition. I began to watch it, and as I did I was reminded of how much I loved the sport. I went skating with a friend a week later, and as soon as I tied up my old white skates, I knew that I was doing the right thing. About a month later, I returned to skating lessons. In the beginning, I had to find a coach, and it was difficult at first. It’s hard finding someone who will be able to mentor you, instruct you and teach you in a way that will best benefit you. I couldn’t be happier with my coach, however, and the search was worth the wait. Later, I actually ended up getting a job teaching figure skating lessons to kids upon my return to the sport.
In April 2017, I returned to the sport almost 5 days a week, every week. It was hard, at first, seeing all of the other skaters and seeing how advanced they were. I had to continually remind myself to focus on me and not everyone else. When Summer rolled along, I was in the rink almost every single day, skating as much as 4 hours occasionally. At the end of the Summer, I was amazed to see just how much progress I have made. I spent hours upon hours practicing and working, and it really paid off. In addition to practice, I continued to teach lessons, and some of the people I work with teaching those lessons have become some of my very best friends.
For me, skating gives me an opportunity to express myself artistically and a chance to learn valuable life lessons while doing something that I love. There is nothing more satisfying to me than lacing up my skates, stepping out onto the pristine, untouched ice and just skating. I don’t think about what went wrong at school that day, I don’t think about social drama, politics or anything else bugging me. The entire world dissolves away and it’s just me and the ice. It’s frustrating sometimes, not being able to do certain things, but I’m learning that it really is alright to progress at my own level. It’s not about what other people are doing, it’s about what I am doing and if I am doing my best.
Now, I skate 6 days a week, and I’m working on passing the Freestyle and Moves tests. In the future, I’m hoping to compete on a college team, and possibly become a coach on the side. I’m hoping that someday I can help people to love the sport as much as I do, and to encourage them to continually better themselves, both on the ice and off. For me, skating isn’t just about the sparkly dresses and flashy tricks. It’s about the dedication, hard work and the perseverance involved. This sport is like nothing else I’ve ever done, and it’s honestly one of the greatest parts of my life. Skating gives me an opportunity to grow as a person, and I wouldn’t give up this sport for the world.