June, 1999, overseas trials - Blacktown Ice Arena, Sydney. The seats are packed, the change rooms full with ice skating teams checking last minute checkups – Hair, make up, tights, costumes, and skates! And as the tope NSW junior team the “Ice crystals” stand in a huddle five minutes before we skate, I remember back to when we first skated as a synchronized ice skating team.
I remember learning the routines, those early morning practices with the on – ice fights over the smallest things. Where the coaches are yelling at us to skate faster, bend your knees, use those edges, heads up, ultimately to bring us to our goal, to skate as one. Oh and offcourse to win gold at nationals to get the opportunity to skate overseas in Italy.
But it is not about just winning gold and going overseas, it is more than that. It’s that feeling that you get just before an exam or a really important job interview, where your stomach clenches up and everything squirms inside. You feel like you are going to be sick and then just before you have time to react. Before all that food you didn’t eat that morning can come out, you step on that ice, or start that exam or begin that interview, and all the anxiety begins to disappear. It’s like something inside of you has flicked the on switch and your body is doing what it is meant to do, as if you had practices it a hundred times. Then, just as quickly as it all began, its over. Nothing you can do can possibly change the result now. It is all out of your hands.
So why do we do it? Why do we put our bodies through hours of vigorous exercise for five minutes on the ice which will determine how good you are compared to the rest of Australia, the world even? Where one wrong move, one step out of...