It’s this weekend. In a year and a half of crazy things, this weekend, I’ll lace my skates up, put on a new costume, and compete for the first time since getting a new coach…since losing my biggest cheerleader, my mom…since the whole pandemic started back in March of 2020. And I am slightly terrified, even though I keep telling myself I’m not.
Competition isn’t something new to me. I was a competitive dancer as a kid until I was fifteen, and then after that, I competed in music. This also isn’t the first time I’ve competed in skating either. I took that first step a few years ago. This time it just feels different and there are a number of reasons why.
To start, this is the first competition for me in over a year, and I’m just generally nervous. There’s a new program that I’ve just learned and am still trying to get into my feet and bones, and I’m competing at a new level with different jumps, some of which I’m still not landing all the way. In a usual year, this is enough to make me or really anyone nervous.
But this isn’t any year. As if general nervousness wasn’t enough, things are beginning to open back and attempting to resume the “normal” of the pre-COVID era. Policies are changing rapidly. And just as they changed rapidly heading into lockdown, they are changing just as rapidly as things open back up. One day we’re told one thing, and the next something else. And often the changes rely on good faith from the people around you. Of course, there’s a lot of anxiety around that.
Then finally, and more personally for me, my cheerleader, my mom, won’t be there to watch. To shout encouragement at her over-30-year-old daughter who decided to pick up the sport as an adult. I lost her right before everything shut down to cancer, and the hole she left behind is very prominent as I think about the upcoming competition.
And I imagine I’m not alone in feeling this way. The pandemic took a lot from all of us, and as we try to regain some of what previously was, things will continue to feel out of sorts, until one day they don’t anymore. So really, what I want to say to any of the adults out there getting back into the competition scene is it’s ok to be nervous. We all are. It’s a weird year to get started again. And also, “Good Luck!” I’ll be here cheering you on as I go through my own competition journey. We’re all in the same boat, facing the same types of challenges, and in some ways just knowing that is comforting.