September-October 2008, PS Magazine
Like a true competitor, the beginning of every season starts off full of hope and excitement. Programs are completed, tests passed, and this time every year, skaters across the country are beginning their final preparations for Regionals. This year, sitting in the stands is a single parent staring at her checkbook… 342 miles to Regionals at .58 cents a mile, $14 in tolls, and $417 for 3 nights lodging. Coaching fees of $300, costume and music…lessons, ice time…and maybe there will be something left over for food. Looking up from her checkbook, she watches for the umpteenth time as her daughter gears up for what is going to be another attempt at a double splat. How can she fall and fall and fall, and keep getting up? Because skating is life; we fall, we get up, and we try again. This is why I love skating. In times of adversity, we always get up, wipe the snow from our backside and do it again. Everything I have learned and achieved in life is because of skating.
The current state of the skating economy both real and imagined has us all nervous. Gas at $4.41 a gallon, the stock market down, airfare up 30%, war; will anyone come to skate? But when I think I’m at the breaking point, I close my eyes and think of the words of my coach… “Ya big baby!” Ok, well not that one particularly, but there are so many to choose from; “do it again until it's perfect”, “one thing at a time”, “practice as you compete, compete as you practice”, and one of my favorites, “you want to meet your toughest competitor? Go look in the mirror.” The principles I learned at the rink are the ones that will help me get through the times. They will for you too, and it all revolves around effort and education. Just like competing as a skater, we are competing for skaters. Only those who do everything it takes to be the best will make it. It is so important to give yourself every advantage. Can you believe 12% of those who replied to the PSA survey don’t believe it is worthwhile to be rated? Ratings are about what you know and how well you can communicate your philosophy of coaching to a group of Master rated peers. Also, many coaches are upset at having to submit to a background check. My thoughts are that passing a background check is something to add to your resume. I have used the analogy before regarding Doctors and the certificates that they have hanging in their office. Doesn’t that make you feel a little better when you see Harvard Medical School instead of the Grenada School of Medicine?