I have been skating for twelve years now. I started taking classes twelve years ago and fell in love. I started competing as a soloist and one day at a competition, they had a synchronized skating event. That was the first time I ever saw synchronized skating and I remember it perfectly. So, I competed as a soloist for a long time and eventually became apart of a synchronized skating team. Soon after, I decided to commit all of my time on the ice to synchro.
Every time someone asks if I play a sport, I reply "Well, I skate". And usually I will get one of two responses: "Whoa, that's so cool" followed with many questions or "Ha, that's not a sport!". Most of the time it's the first one, but sometimes a peer would tease me because they thought the idea of figure skating was too funny. Whether it was figure skating, synchronized skating, ice dancing, etc. they didn't think any type of ice skating qualified as a sport.
When peers of mine made fun of skating, I remember trying to convince them that it was difficult. I would describe jumping into the air off of a little toe pick, spinning in the air, and landing on one tiny piece of the toe pick before the rest of the sharp, thin blade touches the ice. I would describe intersections: being connected to others in two long, straight lines and coming towards each other on a diagonal before turning and passing through each other all at the same time. I would tell them that skaters need speed and endurance and strength and grace and much more. Skating is as hard as any other sport.
I love skating as a sport or not. It would be a dream come true to have everyone believe in the importance of figure skating. It would be a dream come true to have synchronized skating be included in the Olympics. It would be a dream come true to not fear the reaction I'm going to receive when I tell someone I am a skater. But I know the importance and the beauty of my sport. I know the love I have for skating and I do not care if a peer laughs at me, or if someone disagrees.
Skating has made me an athlete, a competitor, strong, graceful (sometimes), a performer, a teammate, and so much more. It has taught me life lessons and given me some of the greatest friendships and greatest moments of my life. Skating has been important to me for twelve years and it will still be important to me whether it is classified as a sport or not. It will still be important to me whether it is in the Olympics or not. It will always be important to me.