My Mother Called Me Out Last Week, Because Figure Skating Gave Me A Lot

My Mother Called Me Out Last Week, Because Figure Skating Gave Me A Lot

My mother was right, there was some value in being a figure skater.
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If anyone is out there actually reading my articles, you might remember last weeks, which was about my time as a competitive figure skater. I said that I had nothing to show for it, and I was immediately called out by my mother and reminded that figure skating was not a waste of my time.

Mother, this is for you.

I was instantly informed that there were many things to show for my experience as a figure skater. For proof, please see the closet full of bright and sparkly costumes in my basement. You could ask my mother, and she would tell you that I knew all of the words to Grease because that was the first routine we ever did.

If you asked my mother, then she would tell you that I got a lot out of it. I got really good posture, and I got bus rides. I got bus rides to Connecticut and experiences that I should appreciate. I got the train to Hershey, Pennsylvania and I got the spirit boxes, and I got 'good luck' notes shoved under hotel room doors the nights before competitions.

I traded pins with girls from different skates because that was what figure skaters did. Each club had a pin and we all tried to trade them to get the most different ones that we wanted and we knew which clubs had good pins and which ones had great pins. I have three scarfs filled with pins that I got from girls that I don't remember sitting on a shelf in my basement.

I know how to figure skate, and even though it doesn't seem like it has done anything for me, trust me when I say that it's one of the best things that I have ever done.

My mother called me out again, and she was right.

I used to be a competitive figure skater, and believe me, I got a lot out of it.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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Why An Athlete Is Not Defined By Their Level

Pressure can drive athletes crazy.
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With tryout season among us, it is so important that this be addressed before the teams for this upcoming year are formed.

So many athletes that tryout, don't make the team they want and either quit to "take a year off" or jump ship to a gym that promises them to place the athlete on a higher level. I know that every athlete wants to be on level 5 team, the division is the most prestigious of all of them, especially because going to worlds is the end game for most athletes.

The problem these days in the cheerleading world is that our athletes are trying to level up at a rate that is just not quite realistic. If an athlete is on a level 1 team, the chances of her being on level 4 next year are slim. It is necessary for athletes to experience each level for at least a year to learn all of the fundamentals of the level and build on them for their foundation as an athlete to be more concrete. This produces the best athlete possible.

A lot of athletes think that all that they need to jump levels is tumbling and that is just not the case. When teams are formed, coaches take a look at many different things, these qualities include but are not limited to: mental toughness, dedication, tumbling, stunting abilities, pace of learning, dance and attitude.

Contrary to popular belief, there are so many factors that go into forming a team. This team not only has to be suitable for individual athletes but putting a team together is like a puzzle and as coaches we have to put a team together that will work well and have all the necessary percentages of skills to be competitive in their division.

We are concerned about building well-rounded athletes, not an athlete that is only capable in one facet of cheerleading. Some athletes are great level-4 tumblers but have level-2 stunt ability and those two will not equal a level 4 athlete until we boost the stunting ability of said athlete.

Putting an athlete on a team to just tumble is doing a disservice to not just the team, but also the athletes themselves. If this athlete joins a level 4 team to just tumble all year, when their tumbling progresses to that of a level 5 athlete, they will still have level 2 stunting skills and won't be put to good use when they are level 5 eligible. A well-rounded athlete is the kind of athlete that wins Worlds.

SEE ALSO: To The Coach That Took My Confidence Away

When athletes take their time and learn their level, they are not just learning completely new skills each year, but building on them. If done correctly, each year an athlete should improve on all points of cheerleading and not just one. The rules in each level lead to progressions for the level that it directly follows, so that athletes can safely learn skills by going up the ladder one step at a time.

What most don't realize is that skipping steps is such an unnecessary practice. If Susie stays on level 2 for an extra year, she is not "learning nothing", she is improving on the skills that she didn't quite execute completely the year before, this will perfect her performance in this level and give a more solid foundation for her to build on when she is on a level 3 team.

Pressure can drive athletes crazy. Parents, your athletes have so many years ahead of them to be on a level 5 team and go to worlds, so pushing for a 10-year-old, that is just not ready, to be on a level 4 team is unreasonable. Let your 10-year-old learn maturity and mental toughness at a level that is more appropriate, when your athlete is pushing herself too hard it takes the fun out of the tryout process and creates unnecessary stress on the athletes.

Lastly, please be sure to support whatever decision your coaches make for your athlete's placement, they know your child and they are not trying to hurt their pride, but build them up so they can accomplish all of their goals as an athlete. Know that the level your kid makes this year doesn't define him or her as an athlete, but helps them grow into the cheerleader they have the ability to become!

Cover Image Credit: National Cheerleaders Association

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Disney’s Removal Of Smoking Areas In The Parks Is A HUGE Step For Making Disney A Kid Friendly Zone

A bigger and better step for a magical and safe environment for kids!

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Disney World is a theme park where kids see their dreams come true. There should be no negativity and distractions. According to WDWNT, "Beginning May 1, smoking areas will no longer be present inside Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme parks, water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex or Downtown Disney in California." I must commend California for making a step forward to making Disney, simply Disney! Smoking should be prohibited at the most magical place on Earth.

If there is anything I remembered about the idea of Disney World it was a magical place for kids to have fun and not worry about the negative aspects of life. It was a day that all your dreams come true. However, I went to Disney once and I saw adults smoking without concern for others. In Disney, there are some kids with asthma or cancer, and I truly believe that smoking in a kids' theme park is senseless and defeating the purpose of what Disney tries to do for kids.

It is understandable that some people have an addiction to smoking. However, Disney created an ultimatum for smokers. According to the article, "Designated smoking areas will be available outside the entrances of the areas listed above and at Disney Springs in Florida. For guests who have room or dining reservations, smoking areas are also available at Disney Resort hotels." Because of this, kids will be able to enjoy themselves without the smoking atmosphere, and adults who do smoke can do it in the designated areas.

I remember when I first went to Disney. Let's just say I wasn't a child. I went to Disney World in my senior year of high school, as a graduation gift. Better late than never! When I went to Disney with my sister, I did see smoking areas. However, the areas were around kids. I thought that Disney was a place where the adult life separates from the magic of the place. I shouldn't be worried about the smell of smoke affecting me. This also applies to kids who go to Disney. Kids shouldn't have to be worried about secondhand smoke, because secondhand smoke leads to certain types of lung diseases. According to healthychildren.org, "Secondhand smoke can be especially harmful to your children's health because their lungs still are developing. If you smoke around your children or they are exposed to secondhand smoke in other places, they may be in more danger than you realize"

If there is one thing, I learned from Walt Disney himself, "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." If there is a way to cut out smoking at Disney for good, it can be a better place. Every time a kid goes to Disney World, they should have the opportunity to enjoy their selves without small outside problems. A step like this is progress towards a better environment for ki

And it starts with us to make the difference!

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