I think that means what I want it to mean. What I want it to mean is figure skating turns me into a child. And I don't mean that in the "the magic of Christmas connects children ages of one to ninety-two" way. I don't mean that each time I step onto the ice I am overwhelmed by the magic of figure skating.
I mean that I feel like a baby that doesn't know how to do anything.
For me the worst thing about becoming an adult figure skater is getting onto the ice and thinking "Okay. I'm going to try practicing a one foot spin, but I'm going to take it slow and easy to start" only to look up and see an eight-year-old practicing a sit spin with a change in position. It's an odd feeling to be outclassed by someone that doesn't know how to drive, pair wine with food, and is not allowed to touch the stove if their parents aren't home, and not one that I particularly enjoy.
Recently my new coach had Kate and I go back to the basics because, frankly, I'd been a little "Fuck the basics" lately. Mastering things takes time (who knew?) but doing something once means I can cross something off the list. My learning philosophy had sort of become a bit too "So who cares if I can only do a right outside three turn only about 20% of the time? I did it. Let's move on to inside three turns, please."
But instead of indulging this impulse our coach had us try to do Basic 1 and 2 moves as fast as possible. "Let's see how fast you can do swizzles and then backwards swizzles," she said, asking us to skate forward about half of the rink forward and then back. The answer to how fast we could go was (not surprisingly) not very fast at all. I hadn't done a swizzle since... I don't even know, maybe June. Why? Because swizzles are LAME and look nothing at all like a double toe loop jump all the eight to fourteen year-olds are practicing.
That's right. I wouldn't practice swizzles because I was embarrassed to be a twenty-six year old woman practicing swizzles in front of kids who learned swizzles when they were five. But you know what's more embarrassing than having an eight year old sneer at you? Having your coach bust you back down to four months ago.
This valuable lesson learned, the next day I went to the rink, put in some earbuds, and turned on my iPod. I haven't skated much to my own music because I was afraid it would distract me to the point that I accidentally hit someone while skating (my worst nightmare!). In actuality it's not that distracting. I could see and sense the eight-year-olds and hockey skaters but also ignore them as I spent maybe twenty minutes practicing forward crossovers in a serpentine pattern, just doing them over and over again.
I realized that my left over right crossovers were very weak and uncomfortable. My right leg is stronger than it was back at the start of all this, but still a bit leery of holding deep edges. As a result when doing forward crossovers I looked more like I'm tripping than anything else. Not cute, but it's getting better. I also rediscovered the joy of slaloms. It's actually only a bonus that I now feel more confident doing slaloms much faster now because they are a nice way to surreptitiously shake my booty as I listen to Gaga's Pokerface and imagine I am Johnny Weir.
There's also the matter of stroking. Kate has been lovely enough to define and complain about stroking so that I could pretend it doesn't exist. It's supposed to be this graceful, extended way of moving across the ice but when I do it looks like "LURCH into position, hold uncomfortably, LURCH into second position, hold uncomfortably, repeat." Again it is embarrassment holding me back. Stroking is a massively fruity way of moving across the ice. And I have to do it while guys in hockey skates zip around me, furiously fast and with no wasted movement. It's like I'm trying to do ballet leaps across a field while a cross country runner is passing me and saying, "Excuse me. Actually running here..." Instead of going whole hog, I usually tried to hedge my bets by doing it as secretively as possible. Of course this means I am really bad it, fruity ways of moving usually need more commitment in order to seem awesome. Not less. But again the iPod helps me to want to practice stroking more by providing more appropriate music to "float" to instead of Blink 182.
My reward for getting back to the basics was a lesson centering around jumps and a footwork sequence. I'm so excited about the footwork sequence I'm actually having trouble creating a blog post around beyond "OMG YOU GUYS! I'M GONNA BE STEPHANE LAMBIEL." I'll get back to you all when I can calm down about it, though, I promise.