skating vs. self
Belvina passes her warm-up jacket to her coach and takes out her earbuds. The rink echoes with cheers for the girl who just stepped off the ice.
She is filled with nerves and excitement as her foot glides beneath. She skates to centre-ice, drags her pick to rest and raises one arm to point overhead. She breathes in deeply once before it all begins – and ends.
There’s no start line or competitors she can see pulling ahead like at a track and field event. When Belvina’s blade cuts across the ice she’s not going out to beat anyone but herself.
It doesn’t matter what scores the other girls received, or what jumps she heard they can do, because all Belvina can control is her mind and body on that day. She can’t break focus from herself or the ice below, or she’s already lost it.
Belvina has found this to be her biggest challenge and this year, she is setting a goal to be mentally stronger.
One of the most intimidating parts of competition happens during the five-minute warm-up where all the competitors skate together. If it’s a local event, these are some of her closest friends who are all vying for top score.
“We’re always friends but when we’re on the ice we just focus and don’t think about it,” said Belvina.
The girls' tight friendships just go to show how important sportsmanship is within figure skating. Belvina's mom thinks it's one of the most important life lessons to take from the sport.
“Of course everyone wants to win,” she laughs. “But at the end of the day it’s about the training - the process.”
As she moves up levels, training has become more intensive and a major time commitment. At one point Belvina found it difficult to fulfill her other passions including singing, the outdoors and family time. She was unsure whether she wanted to continue skating.
“I didn’t really know where I wanted to go with my skating and I got kind of lost,” she said. “It took some time but now I’m back on track and I am more determined to achieve my goals.”
Her advice to other young skaters on the fence of competitive sports: Keep going and push through it. You’ll love it again.
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