Stand and Deliver

I spent a big part of a recent weekend at our section's skating competition and I was struck by one of the unique aspects of the sport of figure skating. The requirement to step out onto the ice and perform your routine flawlessly and be judged on that performance sets it apart from many other sports.

Not only the judging aspect but the single opportunity the skater has to win or loose the event. Goal oriented sports like hockey, soccer, and basketball, for example, all provide an environment where the lead can move back and forth between the teams. If you give up a goal, you can dig in and try harder to get one back. If you loose a game at a tournament, you can work harder to win the remaining games and still resurrect your placement in the tournament. Down-hill skiers have at least two runs. With figure skating, you've got your brief time slot to be better than everyone else. If you succeed, you win. If you have a bad skate, you won't make the podium and there's no second chance. At higher levels when you have a short and a long program, the long program, which is typically on the second day, provides an opportunity for redemption if your short program skate was a bit off, but for lower level skaters, you've got a minute or two to skate your program and do your best. Stand and deliver.

It's certainly a unique challenge and kids must learn the discipline of paying attention to every detail of their performance if they want to win. Hopefully this discipline will carry over into other aspects of their life such as how they do their homework and how they clean their room.