A Day In the Life: A Competitive Figure Skater
Sadie competed in the Jason Hawkins Skate By The Lake Figure Skating Competition this past weekend. As a society we all know that anyone who competes in any sport trains hard for their game, but how often do we get to see what goes on the day of a competition? From coaches, to parents, to family, and friends, it’s usually an entire team of people who make these moments happen.
It’s A Very Long Day
Even if it’s just one routine that day you still might end up spending half of the day if not longer either preparing for, or actually sitting at the ice rink. This particular day started with waking up early in a hotel to eat breakfast. Traveling for competition brings on a set of questions for us parents. What will we all eat? And more importantly, what will she eat that will be well-balanced and full of protein? We now look for hotels that serve continental breakfasts. If that isn’t available we ask if there is a fridge and microwave available. Thank goodness for the convenience of oatmeal on the go.
Always Stretch Out
Stretching isn’t just for dancers. If you have ever played a sport you know this is so crucial. Teaching kids how to stretch properly is probably just as important as making them perfect their skill in their sport. As a lifelong dancer I tend to go into “instructor mode” on her during stretching. I give up after a few minutes though as she gets easily irritated with me before she competes. Only then do I remember I pay a coach to do these things with her. Sorry Tara, you get to take the brunt of those looks she gives when she’s told to point her toes or straighten out her back.
I pay for an additional 30 minutes on the ice for Sadie to practice her routine. The luxury of competing on her home ice only comes once a year. Getting a feel for the rink and the ice has to be taken in by every sense in her body in a very short time. This practice ice time is crucial. Her coach isn’t allowed out with her either. She stands on the side of the rink and coaches her verbally. Last minute reminders of keeping her toe turned out on her spiral, placing her arms exactly in the “beach ball grab” position during a scratch spin, and finding out where the judges will be are all covered in 30 minutes or less. Practice ice counts big time.
Hair and Makeup
I am a complete perfectionist when it comes to stage and show makeup. I consider everything from lighting to the colors of the costume. It’s not just about getting blush and mascara on for the routine. Each color chosen, from blush to eyeshadow to lipstick comes from years of watching peoples makeup look “flat” on stage, or not going well with their costume. I grew up onstage and owned a dance studio for a while and I have very specific rules about makeup. Thank goodness I have discovered Lipsense by Senegence. Blu-Red and Matte Gloss make for one perfect red lip onstage. If you have a daughter in dance or skate, my friend Shay can hook you up, One thing I do wish for her is that I was better at doing her hair. I can do some basic french braiding and am really good at using bobby pins. The hair ladies that show up to these competitions are amazing at what they can do. I have only paid for her hair to be done once. It comes at a pretty penny too. One simple braid on the side then put into a bun can cost around $30.
Hurry Up and Wait
There is a given skate time that is part of the schedule of when her group will compete. Often the schedule can run ahead or behind. It’s not uncommon to have to get ready about an hour before your given time and then have to just wait. That also means family and friends wait too. We keep a lot of snacks on hand to keep Hawk from asking us constantly for food or telling us he’s bored. These giant cookies were a tease to Sadie. I won’t let her eat too close to competition time. She has fresh lipstick, brushed teeth and is usually in her skate dress within an hour of her skate time.
Yes, she is judged. Remember, this is a real competition. Professional judges are brought in to evaluate every move, every spin, every jump. That’s the hard part about this sport. You can have your best skate ever and your result is determined by someone elses opinion. Sadie has taken anywhere from a first to fourth place. She not only has to complete the routine but she has certain skills depending on her level she skates at that are required. During her Freeskate routine, her skills are what is being judged.
When Results Come In
It’s a nerve-wracking time period between the end of the routine and waiting for those results. It can sometimes take anywhere from five minutes to 15 in my experience. Do you know how hard it is to wait to find out your results. Sometimes an entire group or level can be competing while you are waiting. That always helps pass the time. This lady was so sweet at this results table. She didn’t just hand out the medals. She stood up for each girl, placed it over their head, hugged them and gave them a few congratulatory words. You can see the look on Sadie here as she accepts that second place was not necessarily what she had hoped for. Hopefully this ladies sweet words were what she needed to hear.
She Is After All Still A Child
It’s so important to remember that no matter how hard she worked to earn that medal, she is only a child. Eight years old at that. She is about dolls, and ice cream and reading and cartwheels. It was so nice to find an open ice cream parlor in McCall, even if it was only 33 degrees outside. I think they loved the Etch-A-Sketches at each table to play with more than the ice cream. We let them wind down and have some kid time. After we got back to the hotel, her coach texted us and Sadie and our coaches daughter spent some time at the indoor pool.
If You Give A Girl A Cookie…..
She will probably get some sleep and go do it all over again the next day. This time though she will win first place!
I have five boys and one girl. I admit to being partial to posting a lot about Sadie. She is my only daughter and is very talented. Getting teen boys to take photos is not fun for any of us. They are very proud of their sister and don’t mind that she is in the spotlight. Hawk is a ham and the baby so naturally I share a lot about him too. To see more about my kiddos click here.