Figure skaters have a very special and unusual life, but elite competitive figure skaters have an especially privileged life. We that began to skate when we were little kids and moved to the elite level and had a chance to compete nationally and/or internationally sometimes forget how fortunate we are. We had parents that sacrificed time and money for us. We got to travel and made friends from all over the world. And…at times…we lived in a “bubble,” an alternative reality filled with smiles and happiness, but within that alternative world there were also disappointments.
Elite figure skater Jordan Moeller’s reflections on Instagram after skating a “not so good” short program at the 2018 US National Championships is the most amazing and moving perspective I’ve ever read in my 50 plus years in this sport.
As I read Jordan’s thoughts this morning, I remembered my own disappointments that occured in my competitive skating career “way back when.” When my ice dance partner and I didn’t “make nationals” two years in a row, I was so, so very sad. What would I tell my friends from college who expected to see me compete when the US Championships was scheduled to be at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs in 1976? And…then, after placing last a sectionals, I remember my mother trying to console me when I cried privately in my hotel room at the 1977 Midwestern Championships. (My skating partner, Rich, was so upset that he wouldn’t leave his hotel room.) Of course, I moved on. I learned there was way more to life besides skating. When my own three children became competitive skaters, they had similar disappointments, and yes, they too, like me and Jordan, “got up” and moved on.
“Making the Olympics” is a huge accomplishment, but not qualifying for the Olympics or even the US National Championships, placing last, or not passing a figure skating test does not mean we have failed. Ashley Wagner may be disappointed that she was not chosen for the 2018 US Olympic Figure Skating Team, but she will always be an Olympian since she was “there” in 2014, won a medal at “Worlds,” and won three national titles. She and others in our sport are a privileged few, but all of us are “winners.”
Jordan Moeller’s thoughts after his short program “bad skate” should be a model not just for figure skaters, but for everyone who has a roof over one’s head, food, clothes, and loving family and friends. I’ve pasted his thoughts below.
Well, I’ve gotta be honest. This is certainly not where I was hoping to be going into the freeskate tomorrow. That being said, allow me to indulge in a bit of story telling: After having what was arguably the worst skate of my competitive career, I wandered out of the venue to be alone with my thoughts for a minute before making my way back in to cheer on my friends and team mates. I sat down on a bench in the middle of a seemingly empty park and just let go of everything I’d been fighting to keep bottled inside. After a few minutes of this, I was approached by a man, rolling a suitcase behind him. He looked at me, probably looking a bit of an emotional wreck, and asked if I was okay. I replied that I was and wished him a good night before he departed down towards the river bed, but not before offering me a blanket and a jacket and letting me know that if I needed anything, he’d be down by the river. I gotta say, if that doesn’t put a little perspective on life, I don’t know what will. I’ve been blessed with so many amazing opportunities through this sport and, though I may have come across a bump in the road, I am so thankful for the opportunity to do what I love everyday and share my craft with the world. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to kick off the freeskate tomorrow full of incredibly talented guys. After all, it’s not how far you fall, but how quickly you #getup. @usfigureskating
#uschamps18 #getup #teamusa #clairdelune
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