Friday, January 21, 2011

Defining Simple VS. Easy

If you have followed me for awhile, you know that I don't rant (much). I try to use humor to thinly disguise my likes and very definite dislikes.

As the green flag drops and Nationals comes speeding around the first chicane on the racetrack of competition in Greensboro, I am amazed at how many people simply don't understand the physical and emotional complexities of this sport. I still wonder at all those who look at figure skating and say, "That's not a sport. It's simple. My two year old can do that. It's just glitter and sequins." Nothing fries my Tootsie Roll faster than hearing those words. There. I said it.

From the time a skater first decides to take those tentative glides, the word "simple" simply doesn't exist.  Every new skill has to be mastered. Every part of physical, emotional and creative education is challenged. Simple becomes brushing your teeth; tying your shoe. "Simple" is a word in a Nursery rhyme. Skating is difficult.

Now, "Easy" is another concept altogether.

It takes years of difficult "simple" to produce the illusion of "easy." It takes training, conditioning; sometimes it takes injury and recovery. It takes athletic skill and a great understanding of the art and sport of skating to turn simple into easy.

As we head into Greensboro, please think about all those skaters who have worked so hard to simply succeed at their level of this sport. Each one who qualified through Regionals and Sectionals -each one skating to represent their club, their state or who have represented our country on the international stage - made it there not by simply deciding to skate, but by making a commitment to turn their dreams to reality.

It's that simple. It is anything but easy.

Applaud them all - friends and competitors alike. And while you watch each one strive to be the best they can be, before you criticise ask yourself, "Could I do that?" The simple answer is probably no.

Enjoy Nationals, everyone. Cheer for your favorites, but appreciate all the athletes for what they have gone through just to get there. Be quick to praise and slow to condemn. And if you can do it better, go for it. Sochi awaits.


  1. so true, Allison! People just don't get it sometimes. When I say my daughter is trying to get her golds, they say "oh, that's nice." Some kids have to work their damnedest just to get THERE! uugggg. We skater moms appreciate every 3turn and spin. You may be preaching to the choir? Can you post your blog on some crazy hockey site? hahahaha!

  2. Well said!

    If a skater does his job well, it looks easy. Unless you witness what it takes to get there, you'd never know how much discipline, time, effort, mental training, character, creativity it takes along with the obvious (or maybe not so obvious to spectators) physical work it takes to skate even at the Juvenile and Intermediate levels.

    My son is recovering from surgery, will soon be back on the ice, but in the meantime we have been continuing with his off-ice training program, addressing areas that we don't usually have the time for along with his PT. He might get clearance from the Doc next week to get back (limited) on ice. I was thinking last night at 7:30 coming back from the gym that I really don’t know how we are going to fit on-ice back in to his schedule and keep all the necessary off-ice we have had the luxury to do (you know like flexibility, upper body, cross and mental training).

    During the surgery and recovery time he never lost his identity as a skater, he was always researching, watching videos, planning scheming about getting back to competition. It’s a lifestyle, it has to be in order for my son to reach his goals (and they are his goals). Anyone who thinks this sport is easy or simple should come and spend the week with us. And my skater isn’t even a top competitor yet!

    Good luck to all at Nationals (and to J!)
    Have a great time there!

  3. Skatermom.p - I hope everything works out well for you and your skater. Injury is the most difficult thing to deal with but coming back too soon can only make things worse. Keep him in there. We need more guys!

    Molly - You said that, I didn't (well actually, I did late last night in my first draft but then thought the better of it).

    I actually can't fault any other sport or parents associated with it. As Skatermom.P said, all they need to do is come spend some time with us. Well, with all of you, not me. It's just the two of us here now and we're frankly pretty boring on a day-to-day basis.