There are a lot of us that are almost there. Whether it is upcoming Sectional or Junior National competition, or in our case, the first of our skater's Grand Prix events next week, this is the time when we try to step back and take a deep cleansing breath. Did you hear me? BREATHE!!!
Okay. I'm trying.
After 20+ years, when this time rolls around, I find myself obsessed and perhaps possessed. My wonderful hubby and I have been getting up at what my daughter calls the BCOD (butt crack of dawn) to watch the Grand Prix live on Ice net. We figured out how to hook our 32" screen to the computer so our old, and at 3AM TIRED eyes can see the skaters go through their paces; watch the coaches do their sideline "dance" of either agony or joy - or both; watch the crowds and the different cultures as they view each performance and mark their mental scores. And we watch the stoic judges as they push those little buttons on their computer screens. This is our personal "spring training," because our season starts next week with NHK at (yes BCOD) around 1AM our time.
So, how do you handle this time of year? To each his or her own, I suppose. For us, we try to find humor - when we're not reaching for the mega-bottle of Pepcid. No lie: When your skater is being unjustly vilified by so-called "reporters" in the press who have their own agendas and who are printing disinformation as verifiable truth, the "Thumper Theory" is hard to follow - particularly when you would like to thump that person so deep into the ground that they can get to Cup of China without a ticket. But we are believers that success is the BEST revenge.
For most parents this time of year, however, it is just keeping perspective.
I had lunch with a young mentor and his mother last week. Trying to impart my Yoda-like wisdom, I told this very talented young man that surviving Regionals and Sectionals is like a marathon. This is not a sprint. No one will EVER in the annals of history say, "Gee, remember So-and-So? He WON Sectionals in 2009!" For qualifying competitions, this is about survival, pure and simple. Make it to Spokane (which is one of the BEST host cities for skating IMHO). Get to Nationals where you can compete, but more importantly where you can learn. Everything in skating is a process. Everything in skating is a lesson - good or bad. It is what you take away from the experience that is important. And if what you take away is gold, silver, bronze or pewter, that's terrific.
Let the Games begin.