After a fairly short drive from Oxford, Ohio, to Ann Arbor, Mich., the senior team was fortunate to have a teammate from the area open her home for a team dinner. Our parents graciously made an Italian-style dinner and holiday desserts. It was warming just to know that we have such a supportive group of parents on our team. As we finished our meals and headed out the door, they patted us on the backs with encouraging words for the weekend.
The most memorable event of the competition for Taylor and Sarah was skating the senior short program. The entire team was alive with energy. We were very fortunate to have worked earlier this season with Paul Guerrero, who gave us some exercises to connect with each other before we skate. As we left the locker room and headed toward the arena to compete, glistening in various shades of blue, we noticed there wasn’t a single volunteer or skater hanging around "backstage." Every single person was sitting in the stands, watching the competition, which only added to the anticipation and excitement to skate. As we took the ice and stood in our warm-up block, we heard the screaming and cheering from just about every section of the arena. On the left were Miami’s collegiate and junior teams cheering with pride. To the right we could see and hear our parents waving red and white flags, excited to see the progress we’d made since they last saw us perform at our parent’s weekend exhibition in early November. Dispersed throughout the arena were other members from U.S. Figure Skating’s DREAM program, signifying the connection of all teams in one place. During the program we would reach one side of the ice, and the teams seated there would smile and cheer as we skated by, showing support for their friends and former teammates. We couldn’t have been happier with our performance and felt our program portrayed our joy and passion for the sport.
Lauren and the Miami collegiate team travelled to Ann Arbor the next morning, arriving just in time to eat lunch with the junior and senior teams. After lunch, the team was excited to watch the junior short event and cheer on the junior team in their first competition! The team had a quick unofficial practice prior to the senior short competition and was able to skate a few sections. The team skated with assurance and excitement as the first competition was finally here.
Sunday morning the team got to sleep in a little bit before preparing for competition. With hair sewn and make-up on, they departed for the rink ready to perform their Brazilian Carnival program. Dressed in bright orange and blue, the team skated a solid first performance, enjoying every moment of the program. It is always an incredible and warming feeling to look across the ice and catch a teammate’s eye and pass along and receive such positive energy.
The three of us can attest to the pride the Miami skating family shares as we travel as a group of 53 skaters, plus the entourage and coaches. Taylor remembers walking up the stands after the junior team performed, and a man tapped her on the shoulder and told her, “Hey, great job out there!” While Taylor doesn’t compete on the junior team, it shows how easy it is for our skaters to be mistaken for competing on either the junior, collegiate or senior team. We are all one unit, so similar in age, which is something we all love about being a part of Miami skating--skating for love, and skating for honor.
Lauren, Sarah and Taylor