Tuesday, January 17, 2012

California Gold and Miami: Friendship among Competition

In synchronized skating, it is inevitable that you will meet lifelong friends with whom you will always be close. My friendship with Emmy is no exception. We first became good friends through cross skating on the Novice and Junior Hockettes teams in the 2007-2008 season. In spending an endless number of hours together, on and off the ice, it was a certain friendship. The year that we became the closest, however, was our senior year of high school and final season skating for Hockettes. Serving as co-captains for the Hockettes Junior team, we learned the virtuosity of true leadership and the awesome results that it can have. Working together through times of both success and adversity gave us a special bond that we will always hold on to. Leadership is about more than just holding a position; it is about teamwork and setting an example in effort to inspire others to strive to reach their potential. I know I can speak for the both of us when I say that the experiences we had skating for Hockettes are ones that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. We are so grateful for our time with the organization and know that it has and will continue to greatly contribute to our success as adults.

After Ashleigh and I graduated from high school, we both had difficult decisions to make. We individually decided that we both wanted to continue skating, but each of us had other important criteria for our education. I ended up heading out west to California and joining California Gold's senior team, while Ashleigh went south to Oxford Ohio, to skate with Miami University. Once we both had made these decisions we told each other right away, excited about the future. It was sad to part from a teammate who I had grown so close to, but our friendship didn't end there. We kept in contact over the phone, with plenty of skating news to share with each other about our new teams.

Competing against someone who you’re so close to and have worked together with on the same team in the past can definitely be hard. When Emmy and I chat in the time leading up to competitions, it always includes something about the huge hug we are going to give each other. At the same time, there is always that competitive fire between us. The other part of the conversation usually goes something like “You better be ready for some fierce competition.” Competing against each other drives both of us to always be our best and at the top of our game, but we are also so proud of each other for the accomplishments we have had with our new teams. Our teams sharing the podium at Nationals this past season was one of those incredible moments that I hope we will be able to enjoy in the future. We are both looking forward to the next event - travelling together to the French Cup in Rouen next month.

Ashleigh and I remain really great friends, despite also being competitors. Over this past summer, we saw each other nearly every day at the ice rink back in Michigan and would often coordinate our schedules to practice together. Being on different teams didn't stand in the way of wanting to help each other out. We worked on drills, challenging one another and giving pointers. Over this past holiday break, we met up again and performed our program footwork sequences for one another, to get some feedback. Ashleigh watched me do my short program no hold block and told me that she thought I could get a better entry edge on my rocker if I focused on my knee bend. While I think we both consider ourselves to be very competitive, we don't let the pettiness of competition get in the way of our friendship. We are both still fiercely loyal to our teams and are honestly trying to out skate each other, however, at the end of the day, I know that we both share a love of skating and a willingness to work hard that transcends competitiveness.

Ashleigh and Emmy

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