Back when I was pregnant with A and I told everyone that I was having a girl, a common reply was, “How exciting! A little figure skater!” or “So are you going to put her on skates?!” My response was always “I’ll take her skating but she can choose her own hobbies!” (accompanied by nervous laughter)
I first started skating lessons when I was 3-years-old, started competing at 8 and I continued until I was 18. Once I stopped competing I taught lessons for another 8 years, putting myself through university, then teaching in Ireland during my year abroad, and again when I got home before finding work with the government. So, as you can see, skating has been a huge part of my life. There have been huge highs and very low lows and a lot of my parents money spent. I know that my time at the rink has helped to shape the person that I am today, and for that I’m thankful to the sport. Even now, years later, I approach new goals or tasks at work the same way that I approached my skating career. When I hear music, I always start choreographing a program, seriously, it doesn’t matter what song. I have a program for everything in my head. I never expected to still feel so connected to the sport at this point.
I loved my time skating and at times I also hated it. Some of my greatest memories from my youth are from skating, but it also broke my heart more than once. The day that I landed my first clean double axel is one that I will remember forever. I worked my butt off for 4, yes you read that right, 4 LONG years, throwing myself into the air, making tiny changes and crashing down until it finally just clicked one day. I also remember being told that I was too short to pass an ice dance test by a sixty-something-year-old man and that I should join the army instead being a figure skater by an internationally renowned coach. It’s tough to look back at those memories knowing just how self-conscious I was during those years.
As time has passed though, the good memories are what I think about most from skating and last week, I took A skating for the first time. My dad, who taught me to skate around the same age, and I held her up until she decided that she could do it on her own. Before, getting on the ice I was predicting that A would not like skating and that she would want to take her skates off right away. If that was the case, I was going to be totally fine with that. Well, I was completely wrong. A was a total champ out there and didn’t want to stop until the Zamboni was ready to flood the ice. She was a bit nervous at first but started to get the hang of it pretty quickly. I was so proud of her. My mom, who was watching kept saying she didn’t know who was smiling more, me or A. I didn’t think that it would mean so much to me but it was pretty great to share a place that is so special to me with one of my two favourite little people.
Don’t get me wrong though… I’m not pushing for figure skating lessons. Soccer will be much easier on the bank account. OK Dad? And while we’re at it, in-laws, no horses!