Five in the Morning

Still half-asleep, I get into the car
Five in the morning as we drive through the dark
My eyelids are heavy, but all I can think
Is how much better I’ll feel when I get to the rink
The car finally stops and it’s five thirty eight
I open the trunk and pull out my skates
When I walk inside I am where I need to be
The clean, fresh ice is just waiting for me
I tug on my laces and put on my gloves
I pull up my hair and go do what I love
My muscles are tired but my feet know the way
I glide, stretch, and spin as if it’s my very last day
The falls may be painful and my coach may be tough
But for some strange reason, I can’t get enough
I work myself hard and feel the wind on my face
I push the human body’s limits and do it with grace
Each spin and each jump makes me feel alive
And THAT’S why I get up every morning at five
~by sparkles-and-salchows~

Instead of my $700 skates, I could have $700 worth of new clothes.
Instead of my $90 competition, I could have a $90 dinner at a fancy restaurant.
Instead of my $300 dollar skating dress, I could buy a new $300 iPod.
Instead of my $200 dollar weekly coaching, I could buy a nice $200 pair of shoes.
Instead of spending hours upon hours of my precious time in the skating rink, I could do hours upon hours of other great things.

But these are choices I have to make… And I know I’ve made the right ones.

For every tear shed because of a failure, there will be a beaming smile because of a success.
For every purple bruise from a bad fall, there will be a smooth landing from a perfect jump.
For every last-place finish at a competition, there will be a performance that you finish with tears of joy.
For every discouraging session where everything goes wrong, there will be a session where every spin and jump is flawless.
For every time your coach screams at you, there will be a time when she complements you and reminds you how far you’ve come.
For every pulled muscle, there will be a time when you do a trick that you never thought you could pull off.
For every 5am wake-up call, there will be a moment when you realize the extra practice is paying off.
For every time you leave the arena in defeat, there will be a time you stand upon the podium, smiling.

Next time you think about quitting forever, think about all the amazing things that come out of skating. Next time you cry because the sport is too hard and too painful, think about how much stronger you are becoming. Next time you wonder if it’s all worth it, think about each and every accomplishment and every smile that has spread across your face.

There’s something about figure skating that makes it special.
Something about the sparkly dresses, rosy cheeks, competition jitters, ice shows, and sharp blades that makes it different from any other sport. Something about the dance patterns, program music, tricky jumps, final results, and bruised knees that motivates me to wake up at 4:30am just to go to the rink. Skating takes away all my worries and makes me feel amazing. It brings me great joy and great sorrow, true happiness and true pain. It teaches me invaluable life lessons that help me grow as a person, and shows me the true meaning of determination. Without skating I don’t know what I would do, and I hope to skate for the rest of my life.

I’ve just been having really good practices the past few days. Why? Because I’m relaxed.
I don’t know why, but like 50% of the time I cannot control my stress so I freak out and pop jumps and cry. If you’re a figure skater, you know exactly what that feels like. It feels shitty and it’s extremely frustrating.
Most people don’t realize how mentally demanding skating is. Yes- throwing yourself into the air with flawless technique and rotating before landing on a tiny metal blade is super duper hard, but you can’t do that unless you are in the right mindset. Basically, if you think too much, you mess up. And you really, really, really don’t want to mess up. So the little voice in your head starts saying ‘Do not mess up’ or ‘Look at all the people watching’ and all these other things. And then you mess up!!!
But the past few days I’ve just relaxed and gone with the flow. As a result, I’ve been landing so many (good!) jumps, and doing some lovely spins, if I do say so myself. I’ve also been able to do my program without freaking out and missing every jump. 
My dance coach tells me about the KISS method- Keep It Simple, Stupid. It’s so important to just follow the KISS method! Do not over-think your skating, because it doesn’t help. Do not have a negative attitude about your skating, because things will go badly. Just stop thinking! Relax and take a deep breath and go for the jump. 
Has anyone else had such problems with going into negative panicky mode? Has anyone else felt as happy as I do when they finally learn to relax?  

Ok a little rant now, sorry-
If you are a skater who isn’t injured, can you just PLEASE take a moment to be grateful for that!
Be thankful that your feet don’t throb every time you lace up your skates, be thankful that your knees don’t feel like they’re about to shatter every time you push, be thankful that your back isn’t constantly cramping and cracking.
I’ve been in pain (knees, ankles, hips, & feet) for a few years and it’s just becoming more and more frustrating every day.
It’s hard to watch other skaters progress faster than you knowing that if you weren’t in so much pain, you’d be progressing fast too.