After seven years of skating as an adult, this is my first season with the minimum skill level required for the US Adult Nationals. I’d planned to go with skater friends from my rink and had told pretty much everyone I know that I was going. Last Saturday morning when I finally got around to actually signing up I was shocked and dismayed to see that the deadline had been Friday night at 11:59 p.m., with big red all-caps declarations online about no late registrations, no exceptions.
I emailed the relevant people without a ton of hope, so did my freestyle coach, but there was indeed no leeway. I’m used to life getting in the way of doing something like this that I might really want to do, but it was especially frustrating to have it be me getting in the way. I could have registered earlier, but I’d only ever signed up for local competitions that tend to have deadlines about a month before the event and this was still ten weeks away.
I tested the waters with a smaller, related event, the Pacific Coast Sectionals, which had the same freshly missed deadline but is held more than a month earlier. I got back the response that they were not accepting late entries but if I had an extenuating circumstance let them know and an official would ‘approach the referee.’ Well, I certainly didn’t have a compelling reason for the fact that I hadn’t registered, so I figured… learning experience.
Then a couple of days ago I heard from the Sectionals folks again. They were going to consider taking late registrations at a meeting soon, was I still interested? At that point I wasn’t sure with the event just a month away and having adjusted to the idea that I wasn’t going anywhere. My program might still be rough and my dress would probably not be ready.
But a day later I heard I could register if I did it ASAP. I had a lot of reasons to not do it. I’d had a plan for Nationals– perform my program a couple of times locally, polish it, then take it to Nationals. Not rush it together in a month and then perform it for the first time at a big event. But I realized that a lot what I’d really wanted would be the same.
I’d meet other adult skaters. See what a big event like this would be like, very different from a local competition where there’s usually no one, or maybe one person, besides me signed up in my category. And my freestyle coach had told me that a month would be enough for my program to be ready. I’m age 50 and I’m in the age 40 to 50 category, so worrying about ‘how I would do’ never made sense anyway. Skaters ten years younger than me will be more skilled, as will skaters who have been to this type of competition before.
I do very much want to land my jumps, have a good skate, not embarrass myself. I will need to work hard to feel prepared so I can have the best chance of that. I need to work on being OK with going with what I have and letting that be enough to enjoy the experience. So, with fear and trembling, but with relaxing a little about the whole thing as a goal, I signed up this morning.
Then I did something that made me feel much better. I visited my skating friend who has a business selling skating dresses. We chatted, talked about dress possibilities, looked at crystals. A new dress in time for the competition is a motivating and cheering thought. I’m not sure when I had my current dress made but I was emailing the makers about it in 2008, so probably then. I’ve worn that dress a lot, gotten enough use out of all the sewing and the hot glue gun crystal work that went into it. So it’s OK for me to get a new one, and regardless of anything, I will have a new dress out of this. I think I will be happy to put it on and skate in it.