NOVI, MI — This past year has made me reflect on what’s important to me and in my sport of choice which is figure skating/ice dancing. Flashback to the beginning of March. My partner Logan and I were in Florida on vacation, taking photos, enjoying dinners, all while this talk of something called coronavirus was being reported about on the news.
We flew back to Detroit to return to our normal training schedule, or so we thought. By the end of the week, the entire country was on quarantine. Our whole lives were completely shut down. My roommates and I were stuck indoors, and pretty much resorted to making Tik Tok videos for fun to pass the time. The quarantine in Michigan was supposed to be two weeks, then it got extended again and again. After a month, we decided to quarantine with my family in Cleveland. Each day, I missed skating, missed being on the ice, and missed the feeling of being myself.
By the end of May, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine opened ice rinks and we got to skate again after two full months of being off of the ice. It was amazing in so many different ways, but a lot of challenges remained.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer kept more strict lockdowns in place and didn’t open up for anyone. Our coaches eventually received approval to run our program out of the Novi, Michigan, rink because many teams like ours represent Team USA (or other countries), were classified as a “Professional Sports Team” and were allowed to resume practicing beginning June 29, 2020. However, no amateur or high school sports in the entire state of Michigan were allowed to resume.
In addition to my own skating, I also coach Learn-To-Skate and teach children as young as three how to skate. For the last 11 months, none of my students or any figure skaters or hockey players were allowed to take the ice. Once everything opened up in Michigan in January, I noticed quite a number of our students were not coming back.
I also had been paying attention to news reports that so many parents and kids were pleading with their states’ Governors to be able to play their sports either as representatives of their school or just recreationally. Many of these athletes are dealing with depression because of how life-changing the pandemic was on them, not just in education but with losing sports as well too. Fortunately most of my “professional” friends have been skating on the ice with me, but when I was younger, this loss would have been really difficult for me as well.
The three articles linked below really remind all of us how athletes have had to deal with the pandemic in such similar situations, regardless of the level of sport or geographic location.
I am hoping that this year, with the vaccine and herd-immunity, we can all get back in the game.