A place where the Gardens Synchronicity family will be sharing about their synchro experiences!
Author: Cary Russell-Canaan
Team: Coach – Open Masters
MY NEW NORMAL
In my 28 years of skating this is the longest amount of time I’ve been off the ice. I miss being on the ice! I find myself gliding and twirling in my socks on our hardwood floors. I know I’m going to be rusty when I get back on the ice, so I will have to remind myself to be kind to myself as I attempt to get my groove back, especially because this all happened with my maternity leave so it’s been that much longer since I’ve been able to really skate. I am looking forward to improving my skating and coaching skills this coming synchro season, as it will be a great opportunity to get back to basics and build a strong foundation. I am such a technical skater that I find it fun doing skills and drills repeatedly, trying to perfect each move.
I miss my interactions with people, so I’m anxious for synchro to start again. I think synchro is a great way to make figure skating, which tends to be a very individual sport, team oriented. It is also a unique way to challenge skaters’ skills in a new way and build relationships with other skaters that otherwise might not have happened.
I’ve started doing some stretching in my living room as well as walking outside around my neighborhood to get myself moving again. I have some workout DVDs calling my name, but I haven’t gotten around to trying them yet. I was furloughed from my physical therapy job, so now that my maternity leave is over, I am truly a stay at home mom with 4 kids (12 years, 5 years, 2 years, 3 months) who are all home all the time. In addition to trying to keep the house clean and operational (dishes, laundry, cleaning, etc.) I’ve been helping Logan (12 years old) with his school assignments as well as been trying to come up with creative activities to occupy Danielle (5 years old) and Carmindy (2 years old), while helping Danielle with her daily Tae Kwon Do zoom classes, and Carmindy with her speech therapy, and then of course nursing Morgan. Not much time left for myself to say the least.
I’m thankful we are healthy, and I try to keep a positive perspective that I can be home with my kids and watch them play and grow together. We’ve spent more time together and had more sit-down meals together than ever before. This is definitely one for the memory books!
- Lessons you learn through sports are incredibly important for everything else you do in life. It’s up to you to decide how some of it is going to benefit you. Attitude is everything.
- We see you. We are there with you. Watching from the stands, your family and friends are behind you with every step, good and not so good. We know, we get it, we are proud of every moment. Those who fall and get back in it are heroes. We all fall on the ice and in life, but not everyone gets back up with a big smile and carries on. Those who can do that are amazing and wonderful. It takes so much energy, effort, and courage just to do all that you do! You are all heroes the minute you set foot on that ice and right through to how you conduct yourselves off ice with grace and poise.
- Celebrating together and consoling each other is a big part of what makes synchro special. Working hard together makes it all the better when we achieve our goals.
- Synchro is about supporting each other and even eventually laughing through the mishaps, disappointments, injuries and illnesses, travel delays and lost luggage, and all the other craziness!! The team is counting on each of its members and sometimes it takes everyone to go the infinite extra and never, ever give up! Because life is gonna throw challenges at you all the time. Synchro helps you build resiliency and coping skills.
- It’s not about you. Or me. It’s about us. As I’ve struggled with my own body image over the years, I’m finally learning that how I look in the dress is not even on the scale of importance compared to what I DO to contribute to the team. And then there are all the stories about those who miraculously tough it out and skate through pain and not feeling well (like more than one story about someone barfing in the trash can on the way to get on the ice for comp; one who skated like a pro after spending all night at the ER with an injury; a team finishing the program with blood on the ice from an intersection mishap). When I look around, I see beautiful people with amazing skills, hearts, minds, souls, courage. And there is so much beauty on my teammates’ smiling - joyful! - faces while having fun skating the program!
- The outcome of one performance or a season is not the focus. Of course it’s fun to medal! But it’s a deep pool and it would be meaningless if everyone won all the time. It’s more about setting and reaching individual goals. One thing I have always loved about skating, in any of the disciplines, is that “I did it!” moment. It’s the best feeling! Doesn’t it feel great when part of the program that was challenging finally comes together, it works and you make that connection like a magnet? Yes!! We were reminiscing about the season my daughter was on a team of new-to-synchro girls and they were dead last at every event, out of many teams. At the last event of the season, they placed 10th out of 11 and they were so thrilled that everyone around them thought they had won it. Meanwhile, the team in 2nd was crying. Our girls felt bad for the disappointed team, seeing that they perhaps had lost perspective. They were so excited to have improved, and they had fun doing it.
- Conquering nerves and anxieties carries through to other parts of life. I actually don’t even like to perform in front of people. I get so nervous it makes me wonder why I even do this. And then the second it’s over I think, “wow that was so much fun!” and “look what we just did!” By comparison, at work, giving a presentation to a room full of 400 people is no big deal; sitting in front of an interview panel, piece of cake. Skating definitely helps you learn to overcome your fears and build confidence. It shows!
- Lifelong learning is a goal in itself. Mastering skating skills is one thing of course, but I also learn so much from others about hard work, patience, tolerance, bravery, kindness. I’m grateful for those who weather my steep learning curve and forgetfulness, and help me find ways to improve with good nature. We are all in it together. They model good practice that I try to use at work when I can.
- This is fun. It’s for fun. Keep it fun. Don’t let pressure or competitiveness creep in and take away the fun. Yes, we all strive for perfection, it’s part of the sport to master the skills and do them well or even to aim to do them better than anyone else. All we can do is our best. Beyond that, let the others get all-consumed with winning — in the end, those who win every time are not the ones who gain.
- Every person involved with the team is critical. I have always wondered about the alternates and swing skaters who go through all the prep and travel and get dressed, and then have to skate off and stand by the boards and watch. That must be hard. Their presence and participation is so important!! Their sportsmanship is worthy of the highest admiration. I’m in awe of those who can step in and skate the program so well. Similarly, I have so much appreciation for the guys who skate, surrounded by females. It must take a lot to put up with all the girls’ “extra-ness.” Many teams would not have enough skaters without them, so they are super critical. Thank goodness the sport stopped the old practice of having guys skate in nude-colored pants to “match” the others’ tights. I love seeing how teams are now working in new elements to highlight them. Everyone brings something to the whole, and that’s to be celebrated.
- It takes a village, to use an overused phrase. It is mind-boggling to think of all that goes into every aspect of what it takes to get even one team to and through a competition: The skaters themselves working hard, thinking through the steps, practicing in the corner with headphones, probably dreaming it, too; and worrying and hoping and working some more. All while managing school and friends and other activities; and adult skaters are fitting it in among jobs and families and grad school and social lives. The parents are juggling jobs and families, needs of other children and spouses, refereeing the inevitable drama, and driving and packing and paying and cheering and taking photos and videos for us (and videoing practices, too!) and fixing costumes and doing hair and makeup and lugging all the stuff and and and... Coaches are also parents and/or have other jobs and are tending to every detail and blessedly making all the decisions for us right down to what to wear and where to be every minute (this is my personal favorite thing - the only time in my life that I don’t have to think about those arrangements, thank you coaches!), AND answering a million questions, and fixing our program choreography challenges, and handling urgent issues, and being diplomatic, and listening to the judges’ critiques, running into old friends and other coaches, wishing others luck, making sure we are all in the right places at the right times, probably not getting any sleep, and boosting us up and smiling for everyone through it all. I honestly don’t know how they do it. There is not enough coffee.
- THANK YOU to everyone. The best reward for all of this? It is not the medals. It is seeing the skaters thrive and do our best and learn and benefit and go forth and do good things in the world. Really. Oh and the friendships!