Standing there, in the final pose of our senior short program at the Kalamazoo Kickoff Classic, I quickly glanced up at the judges to my right and knew that while this marked the end of our first competition, it was really only the beginning.
My teammates and I had an early start Saturday morning, on the ice at 6:30 for a quick practice before we left Chicago for Kalamazoo. When we arrived at the rink, hair already slicked back into neat buns, we had a quick floor practice, then headed straight into the locker room to get ready for our monitoring session. The best way to describe our first run-through of the session was definitely "nervous." However, we pushed through the program and the stumbles before skating over to our coach standing in the doorway. Hearing her voice as calm as ever, we all started to breathe again. She reminded us of the things we tell ourselves every day, and we all skated back into position with a new sense of confidence. After that, the rest of the 45-minute session went extremely well, and we left the ice in high spirits.
Although we'd missed our preliminary and juvenile teams' strong third-place performances earlier that morning, we were eager to watch our novice team perform its "Soul Train" number for the first time in competition. As soon as they took the ice, we were cheering as loudly as we could! They skated beautifully, and we were all so proud of their second-place finish: a great start to the season!
After finishing our hair and makeup (with everyone smashed into the mirror of the hotel's fitness center!) we loaded the bus to head back for the senior short competition. Finding an open space in the emptying rink, we warmed up, stretched and, in what felt like no time at all, we were in the locker room slipping on our "Lace and Leather" short program dresses. When we took the ice, I heard all our moms cheering as loudly as they could, attempting to replicate the cheers the other teams normally lead. This sight made us all smile and relax a little as we hit our starting pose.
At the end of the day, we walked out of the Ice Cube with a silver medal, which is always something to be proud of! Although not our best skate, we were still very happy with the program we put out on the ice that day. Some elements went really well, while others we got straight to work on at practice the next morning.
As I said before, Kalamazoo is only the beginning. It is a starting point from which we are able to gain both experience and valuable feedback from the judges. With the Dr. Richard Porter Classic in Ann Arbor coming up next weekend, we are excited to compete against many of the teams we will eventually see at the U.S. Championships, and are EXTREMELY excited for the debut of our free program!
Hope to see you there!