Skating Towards Success

Sophomore Ice Skaters Share Experiences

Weaving the laces methodically around each hook, sophomore Kaiden Carmichael expertly laces up her skates as she prepares to hit the ice. She’s been up for hours in preparation for the day’s competition, and she’s determined to give the best performance possible.

Carmichael has been skating since she was just eight years old. When her younger sister discovered her skill for the sport at a party, Carmichael decided she wanted to try her hand at it.

“My sister and I were both kind of scared, but we started to realize that we were actually good at it,” Carmichael said.

Carmichael spends most of her time and effort at Moylan Iceplex, and witnessing her skate, it’s clear that none of the time is spent in vain. Every moment of practice has the potential to benefit her in the various competitions she competes in, such as Winterfest this December. She typically begins practicing for a competition two months in advance, so she has ample time to overcome any challenges she may encounter.

“[The biggest challenge I’ve faced is] not getting a jump and having to work at it a lot,” Carmichael said. “I guess it’s just not getting something the first time.”

Not only are the moves challenging and time consuming to perfect, but the training involved in skating is physically demanding as well.

“Training hurts a lot because it’s completely different from normal training at a gym,” Carmichael said. “You’re doing a lot of squats and building up your calves, and your joints are being disrupted. It isn’t good.”

While it’s challenging for skaters to perfect difficult moves and build up the necessary muscle, it can be even more challenging for them to overcome problems they may face regarding their mental health.

“I’ve been [skating] for seven years, and there have been times where I’ve fallen way out of it,” Carmichael said. “I’ve just felt like I can’t do it anymore.”

However, the skating community and culture seem to be taking a turn for the better.

“A lot of my coaches used to be really mean, but over the years they’ve gotten extremely nice,” Carmichael said. “They ask about school and how you’re doing mentally.”

Carmichael isn’t the only student with skating experience. Her friend, and sometimes competitor, sophomore Madysen Leach, skates as well.

“I wanted to play hockey at first, but my mom said I couldn’t because it’s unsafe,” Leach said. “So I decided to skate because I love being on the ice so much.”

Like Carmichael, Leach has had to deal with the physical strain that comes hand-in-hand in her sport.

“When I’m in a spin or a jump, sometimes I’ll accidentally nick myself with my blade,” Leach said. “It hurts so bad, but you can’t do anything about it. You just gotta keep going.”

Along with physical challenges, Leach has struggled with her fair share of mental blocks as well.

“[My biggest challenge] has been being scared,” Leach said. “I’ll get scared to try new tricks, or if I do one and hurt myself, I’ll be scared to try again.”

Despite the challenges, both Carmichael and Leach agree that their time spent skating has been worthwhile and has taught them valuable lessons.

“You have to learn to use your voice,” Carmichael said. “Like if you’re lining up for a jump and someone’s in your way you have to tell them to move.”

Additionally, the sport has provided an outlet for the girls to let out some of their emotions. Their time skating helps them to clear their minds and reduce stress.

“When you step on the ice, it’s like you just forget about the rest of everything going on,” Leach said. “It’s just you and the ice.”

Both Carmichael and Leach encourage their fellow students to try their hand at skating, even if it’s just for fun.

“It’s okay to fall,” Leach said. “It means you’re trying.”