By Elizabeth Klemm
Nationals. I was going to Nationals.
I had talked about it for years and now it was finally here – almost. Just one more week and I would be driving nine hours across cornfields from suburban New Jersey to middle of nowhere Michigan for my first national championships, the 2018 US Collegiate Figure Skating Championships. Even though I hadn’t even taken a class at Northeastern yet, I was thrilled to be representing the university I would call home in less than a month. Problem was, I was freaking out.
I had been training incredibly well all summer, but not that day, nor the day before for that matter. Now was not the time for things to go downhill. My coach who would be traveling with me to Michigan, Lisa Musmanno-Blue, wanted to see both of my programs in our thirty minute lesson today. I wanted to protest– six and a half minutes of programs during any thirty minute period was taxing, let alone on the beginning of a two hour morning session after I was out just a little too late the night before – but ended up keeping my mouth shut. It was the last time she would see my programs prior to the competition.
Doubting my ability to get through both programs successfully, I started to warm up my double jumps. They were a little shakier than I would have liked, but nonetheless landed after a few minor corrections.
When the beginning beats of the Beauty and the Beast prologue started blaring through the sound system, signaling the beginning of my long program, all of my anxieties about the next week came out. What if all of this good training doesn’t matter? What if I miss every jump? What if we drive all the way to Michigan for me to skate like crap? What if the other girls are just better than me? All of the “what if” statements I’ve been instructed to just acknowledge, but not treat as true statements, beat down on me like the truest statements in the world. Needless to say, they wrecked that program and the rest of the lesson was spent trying to convince me that I was more than prepared.
After nearly 45 minutes of looking like an overly emotional nut and being sent off the ice to recompose myself, I returned to the ice with the simple goal of completing a short program before the session ended. I told myself if I was able to skate a clean short program after that meltdown, I was prepared. And I did.