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From skates to stationery: competition prep from an official’s point of view

I bumped into a former teammate, who’s still skating, at my local convenience store this afternoon. We were both there gathering competition supplies–she, make-up, and I, travel-size toiletries for my carry-on luggage–and it struck me that though I no longer compete as a skater, I can’t help but find familiar comfort in still having pre-competition rituals. Most other officials I know are the same. We each have our own individual ways of preparing (though the seemingly interconnected consciousness of our collective officials’ brains creates some eerie coincidental similarities), but most of us former skaters just can’t kick our old habits. The double, triple, and quadruple skate-check has been replaced by an infinituple paperwork and pens-check. An official, especially we technical officials, can NEVER have too many highlighters. (more…)

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32 blades. 16 skaters. 1 heart.

My name is Chelsey, and I adore synchronized skating.

I despised the first few years of my skating “career.” My parents enrolled me and my brother in CanSkate simply so we’d be able to hold our own at public sessions when we went skating with our classmates. I had to be dragged to the rink early Saturday mornings, and was filled with contempt as I sat perched atop the tall wooden bleachers in the arena and watched my parents tie my skates for me.

I remember noticing the precision teams performing in the club carnival when I was 9 or 10, and thinking it looked a lot more interesting and fun than skating alone. I joined a team when I was 11. I’d be lying if I said my love affair with the sport was instant. There were some rough patches the first few seasons–which should not come as a shock to anyone who’s ever spent significant amounts of time with large groups of adolescent girls–and at times I was certainly tempted to quit. But I held on just long enough so that something finally clicked…drew me in with a force that I couldn’t, and didn’t want to elude. I never looked back.

I competed for 16 years, up to the national Senior level, and when my desire to improve the sport grew stronger than my desire to compete, I became an official.

My time spent as a Technical Specialist and judge has been far more rewarding than I ever could have anticipated. I don’t know that anything will ever quite beat the rush of having one of “those” skates–the kind where for a few minutes in time, you’re mentally, emotionally, and physically connected to every one of your teammates in a way that’s hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t experienced it–but having the opportunity to offer teams feedback, educate coaches and skaters, and discuss skating ad nauseam with other like-minded officials has provided another level of excitement and inspiration I wasn’t quite expecting.

So. All that said, why create this blog?

In a nutshell–to share. To share information. To share experiences. To share insight into sometimes cryptic rules and communications, from an official’s perspective. To share ideas. To share memories. To share a love of the sport.

Welcome. I hope you’ll enjoy your time here.

– Chelsey