Have you ever heard of the disheartening stories of coaches telling their skaters they are "too heavy" to jump or performance directors putting their performers on all-soup "weight contracts"? This is an unfortunate reality and a common theme in a variety of sports. Why is this a reoccurring norm in our community? Is it because coaches think this is a necessary sacrifice for success or performance directors believe their skaters will perform better under these circumstances? Or does it continue to persist because we do not shed enough light on it? Now is a better time than ever to start the conversation and change the language being used in efforts to encourage and support our figure skating community.
Sure, a lighter body weight may yield easier maneuvers and higher jumps.
But, a S T R O N G body yields a greater, more valuable depth that goes beyond how fast you can spin and how high you can jump.
A S T R O N G B O D Y
yields a powerful mind, positive attitude, and an irreplaceable spirit:
you certainly can’t buy these things at the store, nor can you acquire them through any form of self-deprivation. A S T R O N G body tends to face adversity better than others and overcomes obstacles at a quicker rate. A S T R O N G body tends to train smarter on and off the ice and is packed with pure energy from live and nutritious foods. You skate how you feel. If you feel S T R O N G, you will skate S T R O N G.
Not only do these positive attributes bring you a more fulfilling career on the ice, but they transfer over into whatever new endeavor you find yourself after you take your final bow. Because we all will take our final bow and move on to the next thing.
Muscles & curves are beautiful and individuality is a miracle.
Would figure skating be as exciting to watch when every skater has identical physicality while performing oddly similar routines to the same version of Carmen?
Would every performer be worth an applause after wearing the same costume while performing an identical series of hydro blades and candelievers?
The simple answer is NO.
We need to drop the notion that figure skaters are to compactly and oh-so-perfectly fit into the mold laid out by their coaches, peers, directors or the media. Instead, we can choose to embrace and celebrate each skaters’ unique individual offering. Do what you do best and continue to do it in the genuine style that YOU do it.
They’re not the ones skating the long program.
They’re not the ones performing for a full house.
The total number of points, the placement on the podium, and the standing ovation are
T H E S K A T E R.
Be exactly as you are because nobody else in the world can skate just like you and nobody else in the world can perform just like you.
So, Dear Skater:
Skate because it makes your heart smile.
Skate because it makes you feel free.
Skate because it challenges you to be better than you were yesterday.
Skate because you love the feeling after a 3 show day or 4-hour training session of coming home to bruises, scrapes, and ice packs and can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow.
Skate because you complain the whole way there, but once your blade hits the ice any worry, fear or anxiety completely dissipates.
Skate because that one young, starry-eyed audience member was completely awe-inspired while watching you perform.
Skate because you love your body and how your movement can so beautifully express what you feel.
Why do you skate?