Friday, January 24, 2014

Skating Fridays

Homecoming (results of my Adult Gold Freestyle test)

Last fall, I took and failed my Adult Gold Freestyle test. It was a disappointment to say the least, but it was one of the worst skates I've ever had. I've been working on skating with more power and speed and getting my axel more consistent. I looked up local skating clubs to see when the next available tests were. I had the option of re-testing at two different clubs in January, one of which was at the University of Delaware (UD). I felt like this was perfect since UD was where I first learned to skate. It would be a Homecoming of sorts, since I was returning to the place where I first picked up the sport.

Unfortunately, I had a horrible practice and lesson three days before the test. None of my axels were working and my spins were off. It was a bad day. Coach B told me to just do a waltz jump when I ran through the program again so I didn't freak myself out. She said that I was thinking too hard and to just rely on my training.

The day before the test, I drove up to UD for an open freestyle practice. It was one of the most inspirational practices I've ever had. Kids half my age and younger were landing doubles and triples all around me. I tried to stay out of their way since I was clearly the oldest (and one of the lowest level skaters) on the ice. My axels felt good, and everything else was solid. I left the rink feeling very happy and relieved.

Test day finally arrived. I got to the rink an hour before my scheduled warm-up time and found out that they were running 25 minutes early. That meant that I had to put on my skates just minutes after I got to the rink. Coach B wasn't able to be there with me, but a former skater at my rink (and a current UD skater), J, was my stand-in coach for the day. I texted her right away to tell her that the test session was running early, and she said she'd be right there.

J arrived as promised, just minutes before I took my warm-up. I was on the ice with two kids taking their pre-preliminary freestyle test and a man taking his Masters dance test. I was last in the skate order, and the 3 previous tests before me flew by. Next thing I knew, they were calling my name.

I skated to my starting area and took my opening pose. One minute went by, and I heard J calling my name. "Relax!" she said. Apparently the judges were still finalizing something and I wasn't able to go yet. I skated around and then the judges finally acknowledged me and told me to take my position again.

The music started, and off I went. Everything felt good except the axel. I landed it flat-footed and it was under-rotated. Regardless, I kept going and finished the program on time. I skated over to J and then heard the judges say, "Please reskate your axel. Would you like a warmup jump?" I politely declined and just went straight into it. Thankfully, I landed on my toe, and it felt awesome. The judges then said, "Thank you" and I skated off the ice.

I actually wasn't nervous before or during the test. I was, however, a bunch of nerves when I saw the UD volunteer come downstairs with my test papers. I was shaking. He handed the papers to J and said, "Congratulations." My mouth flew open as J looked through each paper.  "Pass... pass... pass."  I got passes from all 3 judges! Holy cow!

I quickly texted Coach B and my skating friend K. I was speechless. I finally reached my goal, and what a perfect Homecoming.

I will cherish this moment and this feeling that I have right now. I'm on an emotional high and don't want to come down from it. Nobody can take this moment away from me, and I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can before I start up my training again.

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