Originally written August, 2015.
You are amazing. Full stop.
I’ve just finished three back-to-back weekends watching hundreds of skaters from all over Canada compete at Minto, Championnats d’été and Thornhill, and I am simply amazed. You are all astounding.
I see you. Week after week with your beautiful costumes and stunning smiles, doing what you love. I see your tough events, I see your fantastic events. When you have a personal best skate, I am right there with you. I’m clapping and, knowing me, I’m probably tearing up. Things are great. You are thrilled. Your parents are excited. Even your sibling, who’d rather be hanging out with their friends, is happy for you. New PB in the short; landed that new jump in the long. You’re on top of the world! You may not know it, but I’m thrilled for you. I see you improving week after week and it makes my heart sing.
But, I’m also there when you have the bad skates. I hurt when you fall. I know that botched lift is going to cost you and you’ll be annoyed when you don’t get your levels. Maybe you were gunning for an international but you got passed over. Maybe you fell 6 times in your long program. I feel bad taking photos when I know you’ll be upset that you’re not performing how you’ve practiced. But I want you to know; even if you have a million bad skates, YOU ARE AMAZING.
Over the past three weeks I have seen the spectrum. From the happy to the sad to the mad, I’ve seen it all. What do you all have in common? Your love for figure skating, sure. But in reality its so much more than that. You all have an amazing ability to put yourself out there and be vulnerable in front of family, friends and a panel of judges. You can teach a course in perseverance by picking yourself up after any number of falls – whether it be tripping on a toe pick or a fall on a quad lutz – and finish what you started with dignity. You can write the book on losing with grace, winning with humility and being a team player. But best of all? I know that even though you may have had the worst competition or the best competition weekend, you’re going to go back to the rink on Monday afternoon, strap on your skates for that 12:30 freeskate session and work your butt off because you love to skate.
Listen, I’m not a coach. I skated at a very low level and any technical knowledge I have comes from years of watching you guys put your heart and soul into your sport. But I want you all to know that you will always have a fan in me. I don’t care if you come dead last or always place first. What I do care about is you knowing how amazing you are to dedicate yourself, day in and day out, and that every time you go out there and compete is a victory in an of itself. I see you skaters beating yourselves up over bad lifts, messed up twizzles or under rotated jumps and I understand that to be a competitive athlete you have to be self critical, but I hope you know that through the bad days and the good days, you are, without a doubt, some of the bravest people I know.
So, thank you. For being you.