Thursday, November 18, 2010

Candice: The Difference Between Doing, Trying, and Trying to Try

The other day my beloved coach who is not actually my coach full on Yoda-ed me. He basically gave me a fifteen second lesson that amounted to "Do or do not. There is no try."

While I'm not going to argue with Yoda or my beloved not-coach but there has always been something about this statement that irked me. Probably this is because an awful lot of my life spent trying, rather than doing. If my successes are only ever measured by accomplishment, that leaves me with a somewhat slim curriculum vitae, let's say.

The list of things that I have tried in figure skating is nice and long. It sits there, each attempted item highlighted, next to my computer at work. It starts from the embarrassingly simple: "Sit on ice and stand up" to the much more impressive "Waltz jump." It makes me smile to look over and see that more thing are highlighted now than not. But it's a huge bummer to think of how many of those things I can actually do well.

With the holidays I have taken a brief hiatus from official lessons. It's difficult to know when my Saturdays are free, and while I generally love spending money on myself Christmas is nigh and I'd like to make people presents this year instead of gleefully announcing, "I can do a scratch spin!" and expecting them to be as happy. The break from lessons makes good sense, but it's hard not to feel as though I'm stagnating, because that good feeling from trying something new is now gone for a while.

That means it's time to start actually doing things well. Where's the fun in that. A try is a try. It can fail or succeed and you get points for attempting something new. Doing means you have to face the fact that you still get a little tripped on counter clockwise backwards crossovers. (There's an angry bruise on my left buttcheek attesting to this fact.) Or friggin' edge pulls/power pulls. I've tried to achieve a ripping sound dozens of times. I've done it not even once. Doing means dealing with being disappointed by failure.

As in skating, so in life. I've been "trying" to explore the job market. I've been "trying" to remember to stretch everyday. I've been "trying' to eat right. This is, I've been trying if "trying" means "thinking regularly about how I need to that." I don't know what is stopping me, but I'd venture a guess that the prime candidates are "forgetfulness" "fatigue" and "fried foods."

Some things have definitely improved. Going clockwise my footwork sequence has improved, (counter clockwise, eh, let's not talk about it). Inside 3-turns are now happening instead of stubbornly refusing to happen (they're just really ugly and shaky). I've even started using music to help me get into the mood to practice stroking. Snazzy. But all of this is still kid's stuff in the end. When I was just "trying" I could pretend I was getting ever closer to the big leagues (double axel, here I come!)

I was also recently told that testing for Adult Pre-Bronze may well take two months of private coaching.I think I can do it in one but that still means that I'll be looking at Spring of 2011 instead of this year. That will in fact bring this blog up to a year, but I'd rather hoped that a year anniversary of this blog would feature me and Kate throwing the deuces at the end of a video which showed us doing some pretty slick skating. Not with us posting a certificate showing that we can do acceptable 3-turns.

Who knows, maybe some slick skating is on the horizon after all. I'm going to my Thursday practice tonight to keep doing, and keep thinking about what mastering these things will allow me to at least try. Though I admit that I do sort of wish I could strap a green muppet to my back that would squawk at me from time to time "Named must your fear be before banish it you can!"

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