Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Nationals Update!

Last time I told you how the Theater on Ice team that I coach was headed to Nationals, here's what happened...

If you've never been in, or to a skating competition, you might think the skaters just show up when it's their time to skate, skate for 4 minutes and then sit back, relax, and wait for the scores.  That's not quite how it works.  In reality the whole day is nerve wracking.  The team arrives about two hours before the scheduled skate time, because you never know for sure until you step on the ice, exactly what time you'll be skating.  They could be running late or early and you have to be prepared.

I got there even earlier partly out of nerves, partly because I wanted to be first to arrive as their coach, and I had to go check the team in.  Once the kids arrived at the rink, it was time to do their hair and makeup.  I got right to work braiding hair and making sure it was glued together with enough hairspray and gel so it wouldn't come apart even if a tornado hit them.  The team was nervous as they saw other competitors preparing to take the ice but we kept our focus on getting ready.

When everyone had their hair done, we headed to find a more secluded spot todo some warm ups and run through the program off ice.  We played our music and ran through the steps a number of times.  Everybody looked great.  And it was time to head to the locker room to put on costumes and skates.

When we got to our assigned locker room, the officials had put up a notice saying our skate was going to be 30 minutes later than we had planned.  That meant 30 minutes of waiting.  We'd already run through the program enough and I didn't want to wear the kids out but they all decided they wanted to run through it one more time.  So we did.  They looked great but afterward, I was afraid I was losing them.  One girl was having severe back pain and wasn't sure if she could even skate, another was having a boyfriend crisis at the rink, one was worried about the jump they had to perform, and another was suffering from  such swollen mosquito bitten feet that she couldn't put her skates on until the last minute.  The rest of the team sensed their depleted energy and I thought if I didn't change the mood fast we could be in trouble.  So I gathered them all around in a circle and I talked to them.

I told them that no matter what happened on the ice, I was already proud of them.  Proud of them for working so well together as a team, proud of them for taking care of one another, proud of them for working through injuries and everything else that happened to them all year.  My goal for the day was  simply to have the entire team compete together which had not yet occurred because of injuries.

I wanted them to skate out on the ice, take their positions and look at each other and the crowd  and enjoy every single moment of the 4 minutes they had to skate with each other.

Their confidence grew and it was finally time to head to the locker room.

They skated out, took their positions, and waited for the music to start.  I held my breath!

If you'd like to watch, here is their program!

They did everything I had asked of them and more and it was a wonderful skate! There was one tiny little mishap but it didn't matter, they skated a beautiful program together and their faces lit up as they skated off the ice.

We didn't win. We didn't even medal.  But when we got our scores and saw that we had placed 9th out of a total of 16 teams, we all screamed and hollered like we'd won gold!  I'll never forget those moments and how proud I am of my team! :)

Kathy :)


  1. Cool how they spun towards the end. I don't think I've ever seen a team skate before, just singles and couples.
    Congratulations to your girls for giving it their all!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, they worked hard on that move to get it right! The team skating sports are just starting to get really popular.

  2. I've never seen that time of competitive skating but I thought they did very well. So much of what you described - the preparation, the waiting, the last minute distractions - are just the same in band and cheerleading competitions. So is celebrating an accomplishment that may not be anywhere near the medals.

    1. LD- It is a newer discipline of skating. Kind of created to get back to the true artistic side of the sport instead of focusing on just jumps.