How Figure Skating is Changing My Life. Part 1: I Am Not Michelle Kwan

People say that trying new things always ends up being an incredible learning experience. Here is my experience with Figure Skating. 

I was one week into Spring Semester and due to my loathing of group projects, I dropped Abnormal Psychology and was in desperate need to replace it with a class, of at least one hour.

KIN 104: Ice Skating, is what I found. Its what I registered and unregistered for, and then registered for again. (My indecision at its best). For these past 4 weeks KIN 104: Ice Skating, has been the biggest blessing and one of the biggest learning experiences this year.

(picture from “figure skate” google search)

Here’s why:

I am a strange combination of a fearless scared-y cat, and a comfort loving loud introvert. Yep, thats me, and Ice Skating has brought out all of those traits individually and all at once.

Ice Skating:

  • pushes me out of my comfort zone both physically and mentally
  • shows me how to take instruction

Let me just inform you that I took ice skating lessons as a kid. Actually, as a child, I wanted to be a figure skater… but thats beside the point. Before this class I was a mediocre skater in the fact that I could skate forwards pretty well and pretty fast too, I could turn and turn around gracefully, and I almost never fell.

You think that would prepare me for a 1 credit hour beginner ice skating class. Yeah, okay, think again.

Multiple times in this class my body has shaken with fear and has trembled with nervousness. Like yesterday we were pumping around a circle backwards (Backward Pumps). Sounds simple enough, right? WRONG.

I found out that nothing freaks my body out more than traveling in an unseen direction, a moderately fast speed, while wearing skates–comfortable blades, on top of  big ice cube while simultaneously coordinating  the unnatural movements of moving one leg backwards in a half circle motion and placing all 150 lbs of myself on the other leg that is also balancing on a blade that is gliding on top frozen water…. did I mention that I am moving BACKWARDS… in a circle? 

Okay, after coaching myself to breathe evenly and to cease shaking, I turned my body around and proceeded to do the skill i mentioned above. It took some time for my brain to realize that I was kinda doing it, and by kinda I mean, not really.

Enter, Joe. (My good looking, incredibly helpful, hockey coach, TA )

If you know me. Sometimes I have a hard time admitting that don’t know something that I think I do. Let me explain, i can fully admit that I am clueless when it comes to AstroPhysics and just physics in general, BUT sometimes I have a hard time accepting that I don’t know everything about things I am somewhat knowledgeable about e.g. Spanish, the Bible, and sports. Jesus and I are working on it, but it still comes out sometimes.

Anyway, so I’m semi-sucking at backward pumps and Joe skates over to help me. (Whose presence alone has caused me multiple near falls). In all honesty, I wanted to skate in the opposite direction. I was a little embarrassed and a little prideful.I didn’t want to listen to his advice. Clearly, in my mind, I was doing fine.

He sensed my stubbornness and said, “bring you heel back in, other than that you are doing fine”.

I didn’t realize that I wasn’t completing the motion. I couldn’t see it because of my inexperience, because of my fear, and because of my pride.

After getting over myself and the fact that I am not Michelle Kwan. I took his advice. He coached me and after some practice viola, I was backward pump-ing.

How times in my life have I run the opposite direction of someone who was trying to help me… my mom, my friends, God?

How many times has advice from caring hearts gone in one ear and out the other because I was too high up on my horse to even think that I didn’t have it under control?

How many times could someone else’s perspective made all the difference?

In ice skating, I am not Michelle Kwan. In life, I am not always right.

In ice skating I need Joe, Sarah, Beth or Philemon to help me (the other TA’s). In life, I need Jesus to help me, but also my friends and those who care about me.

So, tell those you love if you see something wrong or they’ll never be able to have that skill on their own.

Isn’t that right there the point of loving? To encourage someone to be the best “them” they can be and love them even when they are not.



Stay tuned for my next post about How Figure Skating is Changing My Life that will talk about how Figure Skating:

  • makes me face the inevitable
  • makes my hips sore
  • shows me how to prevent, prepare, and pick myself up after falling
  • shows me that fear is a liar

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