There is a video going around on Facebook in the adult figure skating groups Iím a part of that talks about the most terrifying 10 seconds in the sport.
ďThereís this one moment before you compete when the curtain gets pulled back and you step out into the arena and the lights hit you and all of a sudden the energy of the crowd hits you and you smell the popcorn and you see the ice in front of you and itís fresh and ready for you to step on and skate the program of your life,Ē says Ashley Wagner, a U.S. figure skating champion as the video starts.
Fellow U.S. champion Gracie Gold continues with, ďItís a moment of just you, right before you do the hardest four minutes of your life. Starting is the hardest part.Ē
Iíve never competed at the national level. Iíve never worried about cameras and television crews. Iíve never had to deal with more pressure than what I put on myself when I have competed.
Next week that changes.
No, Iím still not going to be competing at Wagnerís or Goldís level. I wonít be trying to get on the Olympic team for Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018. But I will be stepping out on the ice for a national level competition geared towards adult figure skaters.
A lot of us started as kids, pushed onto the ice by well meaning parents who thought they might have the next world champion living under their roofs.
A lot of us started as adults, drawn to the mysterious power that seems to emanate from the ice.
All of us come together during the largest competition for adult skaters in the United States.
And just like Ashley Wagner says in the video clip, Iím terrified.
But itís in a good way. Iím excited to keep meeting new adults in the sport. Iím excited to tell the kids I coach that there is skating life after the Olympic dream dies out. The nerves are high, but the joy I get from being on the ice makes it worth it.
The most terrifying 10 seconds in the sportÖ you can hear a pin drop in the arena. My hands are shaking in my starting pose and my feet feel a little numb.
And then the opening strains of music from the movie ďBraveĒ fills the rink, and it doesnít matter who is watching me or why any longer. Iím out there to compete. Iím out there to enjoy myself. Iím out there to prove to myself that I am who I think I am, and I can do this.