It is extremely easy to get caught up in the glitz and the glamour of competitive figure skating. Once every four years we all turn on our TV's to watch young women in sparkly dresses do jumps and spins. However, what most people don’t see are the years of 5am practices, the hours of falling, and the countless bruises and injuries that make us wonder why we still skate. I’ve been skating since I was seven and am now a senior level skater. At the height of my career I skated six days a week, two hours each practice not to mention the time spent for ballet classes, choreography sessions, and off ice training. I even used drive five hours from my home to Washington, DC about every other weekend so I could train with an esteemed coach. I had wanted to be the best.
For a while that was all I wanted. I couldn’t see the point of doing something if I wasn’t going to be the best at it. So I persevered on. I spent my summers away at skating camp and dedicated all of my free time to the sport I love. It was and will always be such a major part of who I am. What I didn’t realize though, was who I was outside of this world. My junior year of high school I had an extremely heavy course load and I was suddenly caught between school and skating. I couldn't just drop everything to spend four hours of my day to go to the rink and skate. Needless to stay, I also couldn’t improve to get where I wanted to go. I fell and fell during the practices I actually was able to go to and felt my disappoint grow.
I still got back up. It was hard a transition and while I continued to skate, I felt like I was letting go of a dream I had had since I was seven. Still, at the end of the day I know I made the right choice for me. Figure skating has had such a large impact in shaping me into the person I am today. It is so much more than just a sport and I can not stress how much there is to learn about character from it as well. Skating teaches you how to be an individual. It teaches you to rely on yourself. It also teaches you to take responsibility for your own faults. If you fall in the middle of a competition, there’s no one to blame but yourself. It teaches hard work and perseverance. Every time you fall, you get right back up and try again until you succeed. Obviously, it is extremely hard. But like anything else worth having in life, it’s worth it.
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