Friday, March 27, 2015

My Landing Knee

My legs have had their fair share of issues since I started skating. When I started off, I had a left hamstring problem that got so bad I couldn't sit down for more than ten minutes without stabbing pain. It also made my back crossovers choppy and everything from spirals, lunges and bunny hops on my left side were out of the question. I then found Dr. Magic and that issue, while a process of ongoing care, has resolved and I am no longer in pain. Not only that, but I have strong spirals on both sides, and hops and lunges on the left are weaker than my right, but coming along nicely. (Dr. Magic does say that my left leg will likely never be as flexible as my right.)

Then my landing knee began hurting. It hurt on the cutback on a left over right back crossover, on jump landings, and anything involving picking in on the right leg. At first I just braced it and stretched it a bit more, but it got worse. I stood up from a backwards shoot the duck on my right leg and almost went down from pain. So I went to go see Dr. Magic.

Once again, he determined it was a glute problem. My right butt is weak, so the hamstring and quad try to take over, ultimately pulling the kneecap out of alignment. He gave me a series of exercises to do in order to strengthen my ass, but in the meantime we had a right leg full of tight muscle.


The Clamshell exercise. This is easy.


  1:03 to 2:10 I do with my lifting leg pressed against a wall and foot flexed out. Starting to hurt...

Then this. This is death.

Three weeks of acupuncture (during which I fall asleep), trigger point (ouch) and electrical stimulation (which is one of the weirdest things I have ever done) and my knee is better. I'm no longer bracing it, and it doesn't hurt on landings or cutbacks anymore. But I'm still on my foam roller after every skate, and still doing glute exercises. Much like my left hamstring, my right knee will likely be an ongoing care project for as long as I skate. Especially as I start doing more jumping and progress on backspins.

But surprisingly, during one of our sessions, Dr. Magic went for my right foot. "The fascia is really tight," he dug in and I thought my foot was going to come off. "Are you taking care of your feet?"

"What? No. Ouch. Please stop."

He did not stop.

My feet have their fair share of skater's corns and such, but I don't pay much attention to them unless they truly hurt. Dr. Magic insists I need to do some foot care in addition to leg care. Everything, from boot to butt, has got to fire correctly or I risk more cumulative injury. Now when I get home from skating I work my butt, roll out on the foam roller, get some coffee and catch up on the internets while rolling a tennis ball under my feet.

It's really weird to see the kids just jump on and off the ice and skate, when as an Adult Skater, there's very much a physical process going on that makes this happen. But it's worth it. Maybe someday I'll get that Stag Jump, and I'll have all these butt workouts to thank for it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rolling Stone Asks Why We're Losing

The Thirteen Votes are in, and I'm disappointed in the 67 of you that didn't vote, but that's okay. We had a lot of votes for "Experience" and "All of the Above." So, Experience seems key for a lot of people. And of course the comments brought up the all-important "How well they work together" factor.

But here's an article from Rolling Stone that is relevant to our discussion:
"Why is American Figure Skating Losing the Cold War?"

From the article:

"They don't teach individually in Russia from the beginning. They don't have private lessons for six year olds, seven year olds, eight year olds. They have basically group lessons," Vlassov says. "Working in a small group, they start to compete against each other. And kids like to compete.

In other words, competition is completely entrenched in a Russian skater's training. Not only that, Russian skaters must attain a particular rank in competition to advance to the higher levels. This is wildly different than the USFSA testing system, in which skaters show that they can complete the elements in a noncompetitive setting and are even permitted a certain number of re-skates for failed elements. It's all very nice to get second chances, but there are no second chances in real competition. The FFKKR, Russia's figure skating federation, knows this. It's one reason that they schedule their skaters to compete within the country far more often than is customary in the U.S.; they want their skaters to practice competing. They don't want to bestow gold stars. They want fierce competitors.

The American A-for-effort ethos isn't just a problem in terms of testing either; it's a problem with coaching too. At the Basics Skills levels, some coaches have few qualifications, and even at higher levels, coaches in the U.S. need only pass four online courses, buy liability insurance, join the USFSA and complete a background check. "I can call it babysitting, very expensive babysitting," Vlassov says, explaining that when foundational skills aren't taught adequately, it can mean a lot of retraining later in a skating career."

I've just spent a lot of time retraining mohawks and 3 turns, and I'm still retraining back and forward crossovers so they not only look good, but so they don't cause me injury. (Seriously. My landing knee was taking a pounding due to bad crossover form.) It's really easy to gloss over foundational skills when it seems the flashier stuff is more fun, but you do it at your own peril.

 The "Just Group Lessons for Kids" idea nixes the "How well do they click" factor for the younger set. And I think it may push an Individualistic Strength that may carry a skater through a completely insufferable yet incredibly talented Coach. After all, we can't always work with people we get along with. It's not all sunshine and rainbows.

Just my thoughts, but feel free to add your own. All I know for certain is that if Elizaveta wins Worlds I will die of happiness. She is so beautiful, and you can tell she works hard. I love it when a skater gets what she's earned, and all too often it seems USFSA gives a skater what they think she deserves.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Shows and Strategy!

This past show's Tech was brutal. Between a long run time, tech notes and an ongoing problem with a planked floor, stomping actors and a fussy footlight, I wasn't getting home until midnight just about every night. And I was stressed about it for various reasons, but suffice to say it was hard.


The skating had to give. I got precious little practice time, I skipped my power class just because I couldn't handle the kids, and when I did set foot on the ice my only thought was, "Oh mercy, this is slick." After my skating class Saturday, I hit up my local massage place for a quick hit on my shoulders. When he was done, he looked at me and said, "You were really tired." I vowed to rest on Sunday.

Monday hit, and with it I had music and Coach to try and start my solo. I had eight hours of sleep behind me on Monday, so I didn't do too bad, but Tuesday's Patch lesson I had trouble. Trouble physically and trouble focusing. When I went to draw out what little of the solo we choreographed, I had trouble remembering. I likely forgot where that BI3 was, because I'm hoping Coach will forget too. (Still can't do those.)


I realized I was starting the Ice Show Process with a massive accumulated sleep and stress debt. I have to catch up, allow myself to rest, and let go of the previous show's tension so I can focus on Ice Show.

Costuming for Spring Show has traditionally been light. Soloists usually wore their own things and the Group Kids are easy to handle. But this year might be different. I already have three literal Munchkins who might need pinafores. I need a strategy to handle this so I don't get so overwhelmed with outfits that I can't perform.


This morning's practice I worked on choreography, isolating where to focus during publics. Mohawks on my bad side; I have to be able to do those in my sleep. Spinning is consistent when I don't care about the spin; I know that sounds weird but it's true. I played with music and tempo. Afterwards while stretching I mentally mapped out where to put my ice time in regards to Solo Program work and New Material. I scheduled a blade sharpening as I'm way overdue. And I realized I'd have to get my own costume done right away to ensure I took care of myself before I worried about others. I have everything, I just need to sew the skirt, stone the leotard, and add the "magic silks" pockets to the gloves.

It can be done. I have faith. I've done hand sewing on my commuter train lots of times. It's just going to take a plan. And when the holidays hit, we'll do this again, as I'll be doing two holiday shows back to back.

Who says Show Business isn't a sport?


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Be Willing to Suck, I'll love you anyway

I'm winding down my stage show and now I'm looking forwards to Ice Show. We don't have a lot of time to put together a radically new concept (thanks to our new skating director) and things might get a little tight. But whatever chaos doesn't break you only makes you stronger than you thought possible, so bring it on.

I have a solo. It's a step out from the Adult Group Number but it's a minute and it's mine. What a trip it's been to get here.

I started off two years ago with wobbly crossovers and fear of jumping; now I'm a pretty reckless jumper and I'm neurotic about edges. I went from being a quiet, unknown class skater to a known face on practice ice who bitches about her knees. I walked into the rink yesterday and I had costume ideas on phones shoved in my face, then I went to skate my freestyle class, and then I talked about show lights and effects in the office. I never imagined I'd be here.

It's been a very long road of early mornings, long days, and a lot of bad practices. A lot. Beginning skating is a terribly awkward and embarassing proposition. The first time you step out on the ice, and for a long time after that, you're going to look horrible. It's a fact. And you're going to know it. The worst thing about it is that you have to look awkward in public. You're going to think everyone's looking at you and laughing at you, and some of them might be, but you have to learn to disregard them and keep going. No matter what, you've got to keep going. You've got to be willing to go suck, and suck hard, because the only way to get better at skating is to go skate.

Then there were the ones that I never wanted to leave. When the magic happened, things worked and sometimes the elements weren't quite there but I had a start and that's all I needed. And more often than not, those mornings happened when I got a kind word. A smile. A positive vibe that cut the awkward nervousness and allowed me to let go a little. Which is why I've made it my personal mission at the rink to be the kind word, the smile, and the compliment that my fellow beginners may need. Especially for the ones who aren't the Precious Ice Princesses, because I'm not either. I know how much courage it takes to go out and suck badly at this sport while being the sore thumb, and I know how it feels to be unsupported and alone at it. I don't want anyone else to go through what I did.

I survived not just the skating, but all the dumb rink politics it took to get here. I realize that no matter what's happening in the lobby, once I get on the ice nothing else matters. I just have to get on the ice. Ignore the politics. There will be people and things you can't change. There will be people and things you can. Align with the people who support you, be civil to everyone else, and keep going.

Next month may be one of the hardest in my Ice Show collection. But I'm a gal on a mission. A mission to create a culture of Positive for Beginners, because that's how Beginners get good.

And a mission to skate an incredibly kickass solo.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Coaching from the Boards

We've all seen it. Some of us have experienced it. Coaches who do all their instruction from the boards. All. Of. It.

Now, I understand that there may be circumstances under which a coach may have to not wear skates. Injury. Pregnancy. Illness. I get it, and I completely understand.

But a coach who does not consistently wear skates is questionable to me. Here's why:

1. Demonstration
Words only get you so far. Sometimes a skater has to see an element to understand the desired result. Youtube can fill in the gaps, but seeing it right then and there is so much better. ("Coach YouTube," I would frequently joke when I'd been coached from the boards.) Plus, it's inspiring to see your coach performing something beautifully. Even working at the boards, a coach can serve as a "mirror image" to help you understand what you're aiming for.

2. WHAT!?
When you're halfway across the rink, flying fast and hard, it's hard to hear correction that's being shouted at you from forty feet away. You literally have to stop what you're doing, truck back to the boards, get the correction, and start over. This is time wasted. Remember, private lessons are a dollar a minute. You're paying a dollar for every minute you're trucking back and forth, just because your coach doesn't feel like wearing skates. Who is benefiting from this arrangement? Not you.

3. Hand holding
Yes, for some of the newer elements, I have hands to hold. It helps. I like to let go as soon as I can, but for those first few tries, a hand helps. A coach at the boards cannot hold your hand. Also, my coach is a gentleman. He takes my hand like a lady's, which is nice. Theatre work taught me that physical contact establishes trust, and trust is absolutely essential for a solid working coaching relationship. If coach is behind the boards, there is a literal barrier.

4. Physical correction
And sometimes words are not enough. A coach out on the ice with you can literally correct you physically. This was unnerving for me at first (because I'd been coached from the boards for two years) but it goes back to the Trust issue. I can now trust to be touched and moved while at speed and know that Coach isn't going to upset my balance. And it has carried over into other coaches, too. A class coach threw me into a spin and pairs coach threw me rather high by surprise, and I didn't freak out. A year ago I wouldn't let anyone near me.

5. General encouragement.
One of my favorite lessons was when I was trying edge pulls while Coach told me all about Alexi Yagudin, his style and the person. My head was exploding, because Alexi is one of my all time favorite skaters. And I didn't mind the talk because he would throw in "do this better" while going on about Alexi. Such a thing would have been unthinkable if he were in shoes and behind the boards.

I can't explain it, but my confidence took a huge upswing when I got a coach who wore skates. He was right there, talking, moving, demonstrating, pushing, pulling and working magic. I had to move fast, too, just to keep up. "Pretty soon, you'll skate like this," and off he'll go looking like a rockstar and I think, "Yeah, let's look like that!" and I'll try my rockstar best. It was a huge psychological boost.

6. What are you doing over there?
It's all too easy to check a phone under those boards. Or have a conversation with another coach, or check out other skaters. Especially while you, the skater, are forty feet away and trying something hard. Is that coach really paying attention? Remember, this is time you have purchased. If they're spending it doing other business on other skaters, catching up on rink gossip or (the worst) encouraging their other students, you're getting ripped off.

I heard some rumor that some Skating Insider Folks believe that Coaching without Skates is somehow better. As a Skater, I could not disagree more. I've been coached from the boards and coached from skates, and being coached from skates is 1000% better. A coach in skates shows investment in you and your goals.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Sorta Show Skater

"I can't skate," I warned Coach as we stepped on the ice. Two weeks of load in, hang and focus on top of my work and skating schedule was taking a serious toll. I was physically and mentally exhausted, bruised and hurting in a lot of places, and Tech Week was still to go. "This show is killing me."

"If you think you can't skate by your lesson time, just let me know," he seemed understanding. (He's a former show skater.) He went off to teach a little girl for the first half of the session, and I went to play around.

Well, the little girl was off and on the ice, being a little girl. And Coach happened to look my way right when I got bodily lost somewhere between an inside edge and a mohawk and took a fall. "I don't think we should skate today," he laughed.

"I'm fine, I can skate!" I popped right back up, completely unhurt but shaky from Tired. "I'm tough." I don't know who I was trying to convince, but he laughed at me.

I took it easy from there on out. Whatever happened, happened, and if it didn't I wasn't going to beat myself up about it. There simply wasn't any point in expecting too much out of myself this week. I let it go. Tech Week was either going to go smoothly or not, but I can only focus on one thing at a time.

Coach came back to me again when his student went to re-tie her skates. "Let's see those mohawks." I can't express enough how happy his ability to squeeze every second makes me. So we did Mohawks while little girl retied. And he made them a little better.

Little girl came back, and he went back to her. I started playing the music we're going to use for Ice Show, and I got excited. Yes, Ice Show is going to start revving up pretty much right after Tech Week, so I'm going to go from a Late-Night Theatre Schedule right into an Early Morning Skating Training schedule. And I mean hardcore. I'm being given the Solo of my Dreams, and I want this right.

Little Girl finally left, and Coach came back to me. We worked on Spins, Forward and Sit, and those are starting to come together. And then we worked on jumps. My salchow is much improved and it feels way better. Not so scary anymore, starting to become fun. We worked on Toe Loop, and while there's a lot of room for improvement, it's well on its way.

Then we came back to Half Loop, one we haven't looked at in awhile. I started to protest, given how tired I was, but when I protest anything Coach acts like I'm not speaking at all. Which is kinda funny, because I can see he hears me, he just doesn't respond. So I just went with it. If it happens, great. If not, okay. And surprisingly, it clicked this time. Coach held my hand for a few tries, and then I let go. "I think I got this," and then I did a small one by myself.

What happened next was utter insanity.

"Okay, now do a waltz jump, but land it with your free leg in front."
"Okay..." I did that.
"Do it again, and then go right into a half loop."
"What? No."
**No response.**
"Fine." I eke it through.
"Do that again...."
"Okay..." I stumble through it again.
"Now. Do the waltz, half loop, then swing right into a sal."
"That's crazy. You're crazy. No."
**No response.**
"This is crazy." And I had to give myself a little push to make it into the salchow, but the coordination was there. I just needed speed.
"And again,"

So we did it until the Zam chased us off, and I was having an utter ball by then. I really hope this sticks, because he said, "We can put this in your program." He knows how excited I am about this solo.

So, here's hoping I get my music this weekend, so I can start putting one show away (at least until strike) and start work on my next!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

When Choosing a Coach...

Here's a hot button question. (And I know I'm inviting debate.) When you as a skater are choosing a coach, which do you value more: Education? Or Experience?

Do you want a coach who has themselves come up through the ranks, done a lot of competing and testing as skaters and has a good many years of experience as a coach?

Or do you want a coach who didn't do much skating in their youth but comes with a High PSA Rating and has done all the hardcore testing and study that comes with that rating?

Now, I'm not saying one is better than the other, and I'm not going to say my preference. (Although that should be obvious.) I think it's a personal decision to the skater, their goals and their working style. And as long as you get the results you're looking for, it doesn't matter. But I'm curious as to how others feel about it, after having a bit of an email debate about it during the week.

So, there's a poll in the sidebar. All eighty some of you who visit this page daily, go vote. And if you want to comment, great. But keep it civil. I know that coaching discussions can get a little heated, and that's just because we're all passionate people. So please be COMpassionate, or I'll shut it down. (It's my blog.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Age Conflict"

I registered for The Spring Class session, once again for the "Saturday Package." I've renamed this Class Package as the "Fake it 'Till you Make It Class." As the Office Gal was entering my registration into the computer, a warning screen popped up. "There is an age conflict for this person," or somesuch nonsense.

An "Age Conflict." The computer says I am too old, yet there is nothing at all comperable for anyone my age.

"Did it really just say that?" Office Gal overrode the computer's objections.

"Yeah, but what does it know. It's a damn computer." I was laughing. Amazing.

I have to admit, I felt more than a little badass.

I'll keep saying it: Move the Adult Freestyle Class onto the Main Ice and I'll be glad to take classes with the other adults. No one can learn Freestyle skating on a half sheet of ice with seven other people. Until then, I'll be seeing you on the Main!

Monday, March 9, 2015

What is this I don't even

I had a wonderful time on Saturday. My blue velvet dress rides really high on the leg, so that was weird but I got used to it. I went first on the Music Interp, which was absolutely insane but I got some applause on my back spiral and I didn't fall on my face, so I count that as a win.

Compulsory also went well. Once again, spiral is my strongest element. When in doubt, spiral. We got our little medals which was silly, but I got a compliment on my edges from a coach that usually doesn't compliment anything. That meant more than the medal. I felt it was a good experience for me, I learned a lot. It was scary and a little ridiculous, but valuable.

But as usual, I ended up working. I helped sign up and measure girls for the Ice Show. And it kinda depressed me.

About 75% of the girls sucked in their little stomachs when I went for their waist. From the tiniest tot to the tallest teen, it didn't matter their age. "Don't suck in," I said quietly. Most of them breathed again, but I had a few holdouts. "I have all day," I looked them right in their baby blue eyes, and waited. The act of breathing added just an inch at most.

I don't even know what to think, but I will say that I am going to stop making derogatory jokes about what I eat, my size, and myself within earshot of the kiddos. And I'll try to keep the measurements quiet. I speak them just because it helps me remember for that few seconds, but I won't announce it to all the bystanders.

We've heard the horror stories about Coaches who weigh their students, but I haven't heard of any instances happening at Home Rink. I know coaches encourage their kids to eat healthy, but that's a general thing.

There is a Doctor's Scale in the Costume shop, but no one's ever used it and I covered it in costume butterfly wings.

When I got to a good weight, my goal stopped being to be Thin. It became to Be Healthy and Fit. Thin was a byproduct. I can be thinner, my weight dropped way low last winter, (the cold and working too hard) but it came at a price. I was lightheaded and weak a lot. I can't skate like that. I have to remember that being built like a draft horse means I have a lot of muscle, which means the iconic image of the willowy skater will never be me, and anyone who doesn't like it knows where the door is.

It's been beaten into the ground, but apparently that horse is not dead yet. We have to stop telling our girls that Thin is the primary measure of their value. It's not.

Friday, March 6, 2015


I know it's dumb, but I'm excited about tomorrow's mini-event at the rink. When I skated this morning there were banners hung and posters up, and for some reason it got me giddy. I worked on MIF and my program a bit, and then I just had some fun with jumps and footwork, just playing around. I chatted with Coach Yoda and he's going to be "judging" one of my events. This makes me happy.

I thought about just dressing up my usual leggings, but I thought better of it. I found a dark blue velvet skating dress shoved in a box, and it was going to be tossed because it was a little stained and the zipper was rusted stuck. I took it to a tailor and had it cleaned and a new zipper put in. Coach Fab says it looks great.

I do hire Sewing Mice sometimes. (Shh, it's really a nice lady down the street.)

I figure I can take it for a spin tomorrow. (HA! Double Puns!) I don't get to wear dresses very often... whenever I try to I invariably wind up doing shop work or up on a ladder, and I get dirty and ruin the dress.

I know it's not a real competition, but it's been two very long weeks of meetings and stupid housework and pipe hangs and load in and itchy fiberglass stuck in my hands and bruises all over my shins. Tomorrow morning my sole job will be to relax and look pretty for an hour, and that's going to be great. I think the fact it's not "for real" just adds to the enjoyment of the thing.

I get to go from Designer/Electrician/Mom/Board Secretary/General Laborer to Pretty Figure Skater in five minutes flat!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Skating/Lighting Artist on Risks

I can do a pretty wide array of things for the stage, but my forte is lighting. No one really gets lighting until it's too late, but it's something that can make or break a show. I did special events lighting and show lighting, and over time I developed habits. I knew what colors always looked good, and while I had some variation, I usually stuck to my own personal library. It was pretty safe.

I'm now doing a show that's pushing me out of my library. The costumer started handing me swatch after swatch of plaids. Orange plaid, pink plaid, white plaid, some kind of herringbones and pinstripes and bigstripes, all in a million colors.

The trouble with plaid is that if you throw the wrong light on it, the pattern will go away. Colors will get lost, which I'm sure wouldn't make the costumer very happy. Thing was, my original design concept was centered around an Early Theatre/Dirty Light motif, which was heavily based around the deep ambers of candlelight and gas flame. So. I had a problem.

I laid out all my million color swatches on the floor of the shop, and put an LED color changing fixture to cycle through colors, and literally sat and watched the plaids change color for about twenty minutes. Pinky Purple seemed to be the ticket, but you can't light an entire show in pinky purple. What's more, I am building houselights out of wine bottles and A-Lamps, and my prototype cast off this gorgeous deep twinkling green with an amber circle under the hole I cut in the glass. I had to find a way to work with what emerged as my three main colors: Pinky Purple, Deep Green, and Amber.

I've said that I wanted my skating to support my theatre, and my theatre to support my skating. I've started to see skating as another extension of the art I do. Skating is an incredibly risky and all-in art form. So I went skating to clear my head. Coach Fab really wants me to do some crazy things, and every time I think I'm going to die trying. But I never do. I worked on lunges with 3 turns, pulled off a few and fell a few times, tried really laying back into it because I'd love to do a knee slide like Johnny Weir.... fell on that rather dramatically.

Coach Fab won't me stay comfortable for very long. He's stated that he never will. The minute I start getting cool with things, he asks for more. And I'm slowly delivering, and it's because I'm always willing to take those risks.

I had to start taking risks with my other art, too. So I yanked all the markers off my Safe colors and started over. I settled on a deep green, a newer color of smoky pink, a rich amber, a pinkyamber, a pinkypurple, a shade of brown and a sick looking hybrid of Neutral Density and Orange color. And off we went. I dropped color in my lights and started focusing. Stitch was at the console and I asked him to turn on the sidelight, the pink and the amber, and my husband (who had stopped in to have dinner and chat while I focused) looked up and said, "Wow, that's a bold choice."

The color on the stage was indescribable, but it worked. I had Stitch turn on the pinkypurple fronts and the bottle green backs, I plugged in my footlights half colored in amber and then had Stitch wander the stage carrying the most offensive of plaid swatches. It worked. I turned on the sickly Orange Sidelights and I can't even say how it popped. I almost squealed when I noticed that the Silver threads of a character's jacket will match his purple leggings perfectly in the backlight. I had managed to marry my concept of Dirty Light with the Plaids.

There's still work to do, but I feel accomplished. In skating I progress because I'm not afraid to take risks. I figure if I can fall on my face in front of 300+ people during a show, and get up to flourish and bow, what else is there? Take risks, or you'll have the best crossrolls in town but not much else. In Lighting I have to be the same way, or all my shows will start to look the same. As I move forward and start to do more design work, I have to hold onto that.

Take Risks. Risks are fun.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

An Interesting Conundrum

So I passed ISI FS2, which kind of surprised me but made me happy all the same. Coach Fab was happy for me and we talked about tests coming down the road; Pre-Bronze Freeskate and Bronze MIF both seem doable this year. We worked on lengthening the ice print on the Salchow, Mazurka and Toe Loop edgery, and more spinning. All in all, I couldn't be happier with my progress this year. I'm really feeling the love, and I'm feeling like a skater.

The Rink is hosting a mini-competition of sorts this weekend for all skaters enrolled in this class session. I think it's a good idea for me to enter a few events. It's free, it lets me get some outside opinions on my skillset, I can do my Program and take that for a test run, but more than that it's a great way for me to face my fear of skating judges. I can't figure out why skating for an audience didn't really bother me, but when I was in front of judges my knees shook. So, here's some experience with Judges that I can examine in a no-pressure way. And whenever I go out and do anything I encourage more adults to skate, plus I get to dress up. It's a Win all around.

My husband looked at the information sheet I brought home and asked if I was going to enter. I said yes.

He laughed a little and said, "You can't really win, you know."

"How so?"

"Well, if the kids beat you, people will say you couldn't win against kids because you're an adult. But if you beat them, people will ask how you could do that to them, because you're an adult."

"This is all true. But I think this is one of those things where everybody gets a medal."

"Of course."

"However, I *will* slay them when it comes to 8's."

"How can you do that to them, they're so cute."


Now I just have to decide if I want to go Skating Dress or something a little more non-traditional. Because I'm not very traditional!