• Emerging Media

Going Crazy Without Skating

By Laura Nicula '20

Nothing could keep me from skating. Or so I thought.

I did not expect a pandemic to change the course of my senior year. Having digital discussions over Viz Portal and waving goodbye to our teachers and classmates through Microsoft Teams was not my idea of an "ideal" last semester of high school.

But, what has altered my routine the most is not being able to do what I love. If you know me, you know that I am a figure skater and my life is centered around skating. I am aware that it's pretty much all I talk about, but I don't care because it's what I love to do. When I'm skating, I leave all of my stress (and schoolwork) off the ice and put all of my effort into improving myself. Every day at the rink, I get to cheer on my best friends as they reach their goals too.

I think every figure skater would say that skating is an escape from (a sometimes harsh) reality.

On Friday, March 13, the first rink in the St. Louis area shut down due to COVID-19. Before that day, I didn't take the precautions seriously. I believed that the rinks, gyms, and community centers would stay open. In less than a week, every rink within a 100-mile radius of St. Louis was closed.

As you can probably assume, I was devastated. For the past two and a half years, I have been training to try out for the Haydenettes, the best synchronized skating team in the country, over spring break. Making this team was the first thought on my mind every day. I trained for hours on and off the ice in order to be the best athlete I could be. I even tried out for the team last March to see if I could make it the following year, and I only applied to colleges around the Boston area (where the team trains). I spent days daydreaming about what skating on this synchronized skating team would be like: the international competitions, having talented and experienced teammates, and of course, the TEAM USA jacket.

I wanted this life so badly.

When I found out that tryouts was postponed "to a later date," it felt like a punch in the stomach. Over social media, I saw that almost every figure skater and synchronized skating team in the country put their seasons on hold. Even the top TEAM USA figure skaters and synchronized skating teams had their seasons cut short and will not able to compete at the World Championships, scheduled in April.

As disheartening as these times are for every athlete, I realized that we have to keep moving (literally).

A good athlete never gives up in the face of adversity, which is why I decided that this situation will not stop me from continuing to train as hard as I can. My skating friends and I found an intense workout challenge and came up with a training schedule for ourselves. Each of us set up a makeshift gym somewhere in our homes and we agreed to FaceTime and workout every day until we're able to get back on the ice again. I set new flexibility goals for myself and I look forward to reaching them during quarantine!

My favorite workout challenge that I use every day is BB Fitness's March 2020 Home Workout Plan. The workouts are very difficult but they can be fun with friends! BB Fitness was founded by Brock Wilson, a former professional hockey player, and Brit Phelps, a personal trainer and fitness blogger. Brock works with me and a lot of the skaters in the St. Louis area on a regular basis and we love his workouts! He recently released his online Home Workout Plan for free in light of COVID-19. The link to the google drive is below!

https://drive.google.com/drive/mobile/folders/1w91oPJDmf5ZnqjR7PEcLBEqQJ_BEapAN

Searching for good during dark times is very difficult for all of us. I am so thankful that I am healthy and able to work out and finish my high school education, even if its at home. As for tryouts, although I don't know when they will be or even if we will be able to skate at all next season, all I can do is take it day by day and hope that my efforts are worthwhile.

To every athlete that has had their season cancelled or postponed, I'm sorry and I feel for you. Try to find the positives and know that you're not alone :)

Stay healthy!