Skating: On Devils and Figure 8s
Choosing the Unknown Path
The saying goes: when faced with a choice, it is better to take the devil you know than the devil you don’t know. I disagree. I think the devil you don’t know is much more fun and productive.
I thought about this idea today as I prepare to start a new chapter in my figure skating life. After working through (and overcoming) overuse conditions for two years, I decided over the summer to put a halt to jumping for the foreseeable future and focus on learning to ice dance, upgrading my overall skating flow and presence on the ice, and passing my Adult Gold moves in the field (MITF) test.
Embracing New Challenges and Risks
This is a whole level of skating I’m rising to. There’s risk involved with charging headlong into this new territory. I know two things: I will not be good at first, and I will fall more than I do now. And this is where the temptation to stick to my existing skill set – the devil I know – comes in.
I’m thinking specifically of one element that’s on the Gold MITF test: the backward figure 8. This is intimidating because I didn’t learn figures as required for competition when I was a child.
The Journey to Mastering the Figure 8
I have met the new devil, which lives in Figure 8! This is where what I do on the ice translates to life and business skills. The underlying skills of working through a learning process, having patience with myself while I journey from bad to good, seeing the bigger picture of developing control and discipline, and persevering to reach a goal that I’ve decided is meaningful are priceless.
Returning to the question of why bother to progress myself in skating level when I’m clearly not going to become an Olympic contender or a paid show skater, it comes to a fundamental decision of how I approach Life. If you’re not green and growing, you’re overripe and rotting, right?
Conclusion: Rising, Shining, and Enjoying the Process
Back to the figure 8. Well… the devil had better get ready to lace up its skates and hit the ice because we’re going to master that figure 8, and we’re going to enjoy the process seriously.