“Figure Skating Isn’t A Sport”

“Figure Skating Isn’t A Sport”

Something I hear way too often
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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.

Cover Image Credit: https://myroutinemaintenance.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/the-universe-told-me-to-skate/

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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The University of Alabama Has Tim Tebow On Their Bad Side And Here's Why

Why would you want to be on someone's bad side?

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Whether I know you personally or just happen to watch you on television or read something about you, if you have wronged me or mine, there is no coming back. Last week, Tim Tebow crossed the line, and I'm calling him out for it.

Alabama and football are synonymous. Gameday is sacred here, and when you look in the stands before kickoff, it's a wall of crimson that greets you. Recently, come halftime, some of the stands are not overflowing the way they once were, and Coach Nick Saban stated in a recent press conference his disappointment in the student section during the past several home football games held in Bryant-Denny. Saban said, "There's got to be a spirit that makes it special to play here because that's what makes it special to be here." His heart is in the right place, and Saban has standing. He is one of us. However, Tim Tebow felt he needed to chime in, as his opinion mattered, and he overstepped into the crimson territory.

Tebow didn't just side with Saban, he went on to insult the Crimson Tide by saying how "entitled" Alabama fans are, and that's where it started to get ugly. The SEC sportscaster said "Listen, as a student, you've done nothing to win all these titles, OK? You spend a little bit of your daddy's money to show up at a game and to go to school there. You say you're the best fans in college football. Well, you need to show up."

While some might recognize Tebow as a former NFL player, or recognize him as the pretty face of the SEC Network, or even know him as the less than suitable replacement for Neil Patrick Harris on Disney's Christmas Day Parade, I'm sorry to say, Tim Tebow, you are a washed up Heisman winner and National Championship Quarterback from almost a decade ago. Alabama students are diehard fans, but you can't hate a student body for leaving when they already know the outcome. We might expect the titles and the championships, just like the university expects the best from its students, we expect the best from our team, and we love them for it.

So Mr. Tebow, when you really think about it, if it wasn't for our "daddy's" money pouring into the university in the first place, there wouldn't be a stepping stone for our incredible football team. The football program generates a lot of money for the university, but so do the students. The student body isn't acting entitled, we are just being human because we are frustrated with the opposing teams, and we become bored out of our minds. I'm sorry if I don't want to stay for the second half of the game baking in the sweltering hot upper bowl at noon when the score is 50-0. It is unrealistic.

There are so many reasons why Alabama students don't want to stay for the entire game, but probably the most significant is most teams in the SEC stink. Yes, I said it, because it is true. Growing up in an area and in a family who has roots in the BIG TEN, I can see the difference. While all the teams aren't the best up North, at least there is some competition on a weekly basis. Every single game this season at Alabama has been a blowout, which is great because we all want a winning team. However, the best part of football games is being on the edge of your seat and not knowing who is going to win. Lafayette wasn't cutting it, neither was Arkansas. Look at games like Penn State versus Ohio State. The score was so close, it made fans want to stay. Trust me, I want to stay. I love football, but a mercy is a mercy, and who wants to stay for a bloodbath?

Remember Tebow, Saban is one of us, so he can comment. You are not. Mr. Tebow, you are not a member of the Crimson Tide. You could have been a part of our Family, but you chose to wear Florida's jersey over Alabama's, so until you are one of us, keep your snide, insulting, and condescending comments to yourself. Roll Tide!

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