November 6, 2013 § 5 Comments
Rather than dwell on the fact that figure skating is a really expensive sport that requires a lot out of its participants financially, physically and mentally, let’s focus on something that’s less depressing about ice skating: outdoor holiday rinks. The San Francisco Bay Area region is spoiled to have two outdoor rinks, where people can celebrate their holidays and create beautiful memories of their time figure skating.
One rink is located in Union Square and despite being 50% smaller than an average indoor rink, the Union Square outdoor rink is located next to a cool four story tall Christmas tree, bright lights and Cheesecake Factory across the street. The other is located at Justin Herman Plaza in the Embarcadero, a little bit further down the waterfront from AT&T Park. This rink is significantly bigger than the Union Square one, giving you more room to take pictures, fall on the ice and imitate an ice skater.
You seem like a pretty responsible person so here are suggestions that may leave you with less bruises to your body and dignity:
Wearing jeans while skating
No, I’m not expecting you to come in on a brisk morning or a really cold evening in Lululemon or generic running pants. I am also not advocating for you to take off your pants just to go skate. Jeans restrict leg movements, making it harder to skate around, jump, spin, do crazy footwork. As long as you don’t over-exert yourself skating in jeans, it shouldn’t be too bad. I also pray that the pair of jeans you’re wearing doesn’t rip when you attempt a figure skating element out on the ice.
Instagram on the ice
I get it. Holiday rinks aren’t around every day of the year. Four story tall trees aren’t in the middle of Union Square every day of the year. I have nothing against people instagram-ing the lovers and third-wheeling friends, the Embarcadero waterfront or tall trees. At the same time, it may be safer to do this off the ice.
The people in the photo need to be stationary and lined up with the tree. Photographers are stationary trying to get a good photo. They will take multiple shots in order to get one good shot.
That’s cool and all but you’re all standing in the middle of a busy rink, surrounded by people who don’t skate all that often and have control over where they fall or skate. You’re asking to be knocked over if you’re standing in the middle of the ice rink, in the way of everyone else. It’s a little less dangerous when you take these pictures off the ice, and the image of you dazed and confused, sprawled on the ice won’t be immortalized on Vine.
Eating bacon cheeseburgers and Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes
Plenty of spots to eat during the holidays. Maybe these are the choices you’re thinking about when you want to have a good meal with friends and skate after. Perhaps there are fancier restaurants like House of Prime Rib, Prospect, or Gary Danko in mind. Really though, right before you’re about to skate?
These dinner choices may make you feel a little sluggish, so if your dinner ends half an hour before the next skating session starts, take that time to digest a little bit. If not, the wobbling on ice skates, as well as other skaters skating around in circles may induce some nausea and barfing. Take the skating slow and just have a good time.
- Each session starts at every even hour of the clock and lasts for 90 minutes.
- Check here and here in case there’s a day where some rich dude/company bought out the ice rink for a session or the whole day. Otherwise, check these sites anyway to see how much money things will cost, what time the sessions happen on weekdays and weekends, etc.
- Union Square Ice Rink allows people to purchase tickets online to avoid lines and stuff. $2.50 in extra fees but sometimes, it’s worth it rather than finding out the session you want to go to is all sold out.
- Union Square also won’t let you do spins and jumps once there’s four or more people on the ice so go early if that’s your thing. Otherwise, have fun skating in circles with friends.
- Either have someone watch your stuff to avoid theft or pay money to use the lockers provided by the rinks.
- Falling on the ice, it happens. Just enjoy the few times you skate every year.
November 3, 2013 § Leave a comment
Hey, you seem to enjoy the Olympics quite a bit. Let’s play a game.
I spy with my little eyes a gold medal with something inside shaped like this. No, it’s not a jagged banana. Embedded in the medal is a piece of the meteorite that landed in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia in 2012. Gold medal winners will receive these special medals in events that finish up on February 15th, commemorating the anniversary of the meteorite landing.
Winners in esteemed sports such as alpine skiing, cross country skiing, short track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, and speed skating will win these cool gold medals.
Which figure skaters, American or not have the best chance at winning these limited edition gold medals? Trick question.
- The team event, where nations compete against each other in the traditional skating events ends on 2/9.
- Pairs skaters finish on 2/12.
- The individual men’s skaters finish up on Valentine’s Day.
- Ice dancers finish up on 2/17, barring any judging scandals.
- Finally, the individual ladies finish up on 2/20.
Figure skaters have no chance to get gold medals that sparkle like their outfits. In 95 days, rival skaters will settle some scores and shoot for the gold medals of the regular kind. Go Meryl Davis/Charlie White, Madison Chock/Evan Bates, Max Aaron, Evan Lysacek, Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold, and Alissa Czisny (!!). USA!
November 2, 2013 § Leave a comment
My coach and I are putting together a competition piece for
the 2014 Winter Olympics, the 2018 Winter Olympics a competition in the near future. But as my loyal readers, if you come out to see me practice the freeskate, make sure my body language and facial expressions match the tone of the music. If you see me skating with this game face on,
… welp, you’ll know exactly what to do.
October 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
Whether or not you choose to wear that skimpy or potentially offensive costume, whether or not you are fine with taking candy from strangers, thefigureskatinglawyer wants to make sure you have a fun time on October 31st. Meanwhile, tonight marks the beginning of the Golden State Warriors’ basketball season. By the power of Stephen Curry’s glass ankles, I hope to see the local Bay Area basketball team succeed in Jim Barnett’s last season as Comcast Sportsnet’s color commentator.
My previous post regarding skate sharpening touched on one of the baddest motherf[- shut your mouth] in the North Bay in Warren Glass and the East Bay go-to sharpener, former Salt Lake Olympian ice dancer Charles Sinek. Sometimes, Novato is too far for you and other times, you don’t need to have an Olympic presence be graced upon your figure skates. What if you are a short drive away from a sharpener who has sharpened skates for 10 years and a family that has made figure skates for 60? I’m recommending Aaron Spiteri, a third-generation skate maker of the SP Teri family.
What If I Just Don’t Want To Sharpen My Skates?
Welp, no one can stop you if you don’t want to get those blades sharpened. If you are dedicated to your craft and you are preparing for a competition or qualification test, you may need to jump and do some tricky footwork. Can you do so on dull blades? Certainly. However, you risk your blades slipping during any element that requires strong edges or going from backwards to forwards/forwards to backwards in a very quick amount of time.
That’s not to say you won’t be able to compensate for crappy edges but best case scenario, you start acquiring these bad habits that may not affect any low level elements or simple step sequences. Worst case scenario? You will increase the chances that you fall and seriously injure yourself, be it a broken ankle or a torn knee ligament that requires a long recovery time.
Why SP Teri Though?
Each skate sharpening at the South San Francisco headquarters of SP Teri is 20 bucks. If you live in San Francisco, you pay no toll and less money for a Warren Glass-like quality sharpening. What else are you getting in the 20 dollars you’re paying?
In father and son combo George and Aaron Spiteri, you get professionals who know not just about blade sharpening but how to maintain the boots and blades (what if the boots smell?), how your blade should be aligned on the bottom of your boots, and how sharp to sharpen your blades. They are authorized retailers of all name-brand blades and they know which blades to offer based on your USFSA skill level and your coach’s preferences, but they will focus on the blades you already have. They’ll give you an honest assessment about the quality of steel on your blade and how much life the blades and the “rocker” (the part which you jump and spin on) is left. Those are the two main factors that determine how often you can wait until you need to spend too much money on blades.
As for the famed SP Teri boots, here’s a detailed post by Ask Mr. Edge about the benefits of the boots. As for which boots are right for you between Harlicks, SP Teri, Riedell, Edea or any other skate companies, you need to try a few of the brands out to figure out the best fit, the heaviness of the boots, the fit around the ankles, the width of the boots, the different colors of the boots, and other factors that go into your next purchase of figure skates.
Like Warren Glass, the Spiteris want you to try out your skate sharpenings to make sure everything works out. They are open to any and all feedback and will do any re-sharpenings free of charge.
The SP Teri store is open from 9-5 but give the store a call to see when Aaron or George are available to do skate sharpenings. They too will help you follow your sparkling, triple axel-filled figure skating dreams.
October 26, 2013 § Leave a comment
If the 2013 Tiger Challenge is running on time, there’s about 15 minutes left of events in the first Pacific regional competition. Da Bears brought four to Colorado Springs while the rest of the team takes care of midterms, Sectionals training, and… not wanting to fly to the high altitude of Colorado just yet. You four ladies are good girls and you know it.
The four ladies fulfill half of their 2 required regionals quota, while also helping the team show up to the first of 3 competitions. Not showing up to one of the competitions is a big no-no in college competitions, so good on the ladies for not leaving it up to college competition chairs Kristin Zinsmeister and Cal FS alumnus Katie Specht to determine the team’s postseason fate.
From the looks of the schedule, the figure skating gods were nice to Janelle Unger this year, making sure she skated at a reasonable time of 10:45 AM. It beats skating at 7:30 in the morning, you know? Also, Sara Billman skates in her first intercollegiate competition, taking on integral roles in the senior short and championship freeskates. Audrey and Kristen are going to skate their events and get the team some points in their individual and maybe the Intermediate Team Event. Maybe Coach Minovitz can convince everybody she still skates for the team…
University of Denver, despite not hosting the competition will still have home-field advantage as they send 20+ girls to Honnen Ice Arena. Colorado College hosts the competition but they’re bringing a small team. The Powder Blue Men Group led by Joey Millet and Evan Bender won’t bring everyone but have enough firepower to place in the top-3. Colorado State will bring a decent amount of ladies from Fort Collins down I-70 towards a strong showing in the standings, but not if New Mexico finishes their six-hour drive from Albuquerque and have a say about that.
Here’s an educated guess of where everybody ranks after the first competition.
1. Denver Pioneers
2. UCLA Bruins
3. Colorado State
4. New Mexico
5. Da Bears
6. Colorado College
Welp, your California Golden Bears start on the bottom and don’t plan on staying there. They look to dominate the competition they’ll host in Oakland, as well as the competition in Denver. There are at least 10 skaters who need to skate in the last two competitions just so they can skate at Championships. The team itself will be alright if they can win both competitions.
Maybe. Ladies, just be safe on I-70 and hold on, you’re going home.
October 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are going for one of the best engagement and wedding parties of all time, all time. Kanye, Brian Wilson will be pissed if you don’t let him be the ringbearer though. Kim, hope that 15-carat diamond ring doesn’t break your arm. According to reliable sources…
hey… your sources aren’t all that reliable…
Hey! That’s a convenient amount. It’s like it’s just enough for a contract savvy Brian Sabean handed out not too long ago.
All Tim Lincecum contract jokes and elaborate proposals aside, a new figure skating season is here and you want to cheer for a team that wins, a team that doesn’t know how to lose, and a team that does triple axels. I’m going to do my best to let you know the week before the first competition what’s going on with the California Golden Burrrrrrrrs. Here’s what’s on tap:
According to USFSA, these are the dates when you can catch UC Berkeley’s competition performances if they’re in an area near you.
|Where Is It, Brah?||Host School|
|Tiger Challenge||Colorado Springs, CO||Colorado College|
|Golden Bear Skate||Oakland, CA||UC Berkeley|
|Pioneer Open||Denver, CO||University of Denver|
|US Intercollegiate Championships||Adrian, MI||Adrian College|
Sandwiched between two trips to Colorado, the Bears host their own competition again in Oakland with many returning and new skaters in tow. Last year’s championship reps UC Berkeley, UCLA, and DU look to book their return flights to the Championships, but look for New Mexico and Colorado College to bring out the tables, ladders, and steel chairs and make things interesting.
University of Denver loses novice skater Rylee Pepich as she transfers schools but returns most, if not all of their team. UCLA loses senior skater Coral Chou but might return to full strength with the return of senior ladies’ Mericien Venzon and junior ladies’ Emily Chan. They will assist Maddison Bullock, 4th year Amanda Sunyoto and junior men’s Joey Millet on their quest to make sure you see LA and the powder blue.
New Mexico, beaten out last year by UCLA for that final spot in the Championships will field a small but formidable team in the Southwest. Colorado College expects back Midwestern Regionals competitor Janet Miao and … yeah, I’m not really sure who else they’re bringing out to compete. More on the Pacific teams, as well as the teams in the Midwest and Eastern regions after every team finishes their first regional competition.
The Golden Bear Roster
The Golden Bears return a large core of their skaters despite losing junior ladies’ Marissa Minovitz to graduation. Coming back are
- Sectionals-bound/Senior ladies’ Laney Diggs
- Senior ladies’ Sravani Kondapavulur
- Senior ladies’ Katrina Phan
- Senior ladies’ Michelle Hong
- Junior ladies’ Gina DeNatale
- Intermediate ladies’ Janelle Unger
- Junior men’s Sean Sunyoto
- Junior men’s Matej Silecky
- Junior men’s Jay Yostanto (maybe?)
- Juvenile ladies’ Amy Nguyen
- Senior ice dancer Kelsey Chan
- Senior ice dancer Teressa Vellrath
- Senior ice dancer Samira Damavandi
New faces you may see now or later are:
- Senior ladies’ Sara Billman
- Junior ladies’ Kathleen Albert
- Novice men’s Aditya Nandy
Reprising her role as the conductor of the UC Berkeley team is the baus Dani Schraner. The roster is top-heavy in both freeskating and ice dancing, but I’m pretty sure the team is open to adding a graduating senior with one semester left to make something happen in college. High team maneuvers, kind of like HORSE but with triple axels and flying change of foot spins instead of corner 3s and windmill dunks, will be covered by any combination of the returning ladies for the spins and sequences + Sara + one of the guys to do the triples.
Last year, the Golden Bears had a good shot at earning a top 3 finish at the championship in Dartmouth. This year in Michigan, with additional skaters, additional experience and grit? Ridiculously, even better.
Why Win Now
Win now for Laney Diggs. The 4th year is the engine that runs the team. Of the 59 points the team acquired during their 4th place finish in Championships last year, she earned 13 points with her 4 top-5 finishes. Now in her final year of her undergraduate career, Diggs is an important reason why the team can break the top 3 in the final standings.
The championship window and/or a spot on the podium is closing quickly. This weekend, Diggs and the rest of the team take their first step to keep that window open. Skate on, you Bears.
June 23, 2013 § 5 Comments
Nope, this post isn’t a metaphor for anything. Falling while figure skating scars casual and serious skaters alike. My ankle, my four major knee ligaments and meniscus, my hamstrings and my spine are still intact, but even though falling sucks, falling defines the sport of figure skating.
Casual Skaters & Skating, Never Getting Back Together
For the casual figure skater who only skates once or twice a year during the holidays, goshdarnit figure skating in the Olympics is so damn beautiful. There’s the sparkly tops and dresses. There’s the effortlessness that skaters have trained years and years for in order to make it all look easy. There are the triple axels, dear God (but you know, you may need Scott Hamilton to point out the jump). Every casual skater eats up Olympic figure skating with their collective spoon.
All it takes is one terribly embarrassing fall, ego bruised from people looking on and clothes wet from sitting on the ice. That’s all it takes to scar a casual skater for life and vow to never skate again. That’s it, never using those rental skates that lack any resemblance of edges ever again!
But you know who hates falling more than casual skaters?
Adult Figure Skaters
You know, the ones that can drive or use public transportation to the ice rink. The ones that can put on their own skates. The ones that pay for some, if not all of the expenses that come with skating. Adult figure skaters take some time to get productive in either freestyle or public sessions, when skaters of all skills and sizes skate recklessly around the rink.
Adult figure skaters who pick up figure skating late find out not only how rewarding, but also how taxing it is to participate in this sport.
There’s all these components to doing all your jumps right. If you set up the jump wrong, do the actual jump wrong, or land funny, chances are you’ll only have crappy fall and a gnarly bruise to show for it. If you’re scratch or sit spinning and you rock back to your heel, chances are your feet are going to slip from under you and your head violently hits the ice.
Back of my head meeting the ice? What the fu-
By falling though, you slowly start to figure out what is going wrong with your technique. Do you not have astronomical leg strength to get out of the sit spin position? Are you keeping your center of gravity from tilting over? Are you checking your arms so that your body isn’t spinning out of control? Are you looking out and not downward so your body doesn’t go tumbling down?
Maybe your arms and legs aren’t coordinated or you’re using way more upper body strength to force the rotations in the jumps or the spins? Whenever you have to force the technique to make cool things in figure skating happen, it’s not going to happen.
The falls that result in weird bruises up and down your body and/or banged up joints take a toll on your entire body, but there are some positive takeaways.
After each fall, incorrect take-off, or jump where you needed to improvise mid-air to save the jump, you come upon a lot of information to improve your existing technique.When you start critiquing your technique and tailor your jumps, spins and footwork around not making the same mistakes you made earlier, you are on your way to becoming a lean, mean, triple axel-completing machine.
That is when you start overanalyzing everything and/or convince yourself you can’t do new things in figure skating.
The lutz and axel jumps, jumps Brian Boitano can do while winning gold medals and wearing blindfolds, are the most difficult jumps in a skater’s arsenal.
There’s so much to mentally think about in terms of coordinating which edge of the skate you will be on, where your arms and legs are swinging through, where to put all your weight… So much going on that if you miss one of these tasks, you will have a difficult time controlling the jump, let alone get all the way around to complete the jump.
Have I mentioned how painful it is to fall on the ice? Well, that combined with not thinking about putting the jumps together allows a lot of doubt to creep in your mind.
It’s discouraging when things aren’t coming together for these two jumps, or figure skating in general. It then becomes pretty easy to take safety measures to not fall, even if it means not being able to complete the spin or jump. These safety measures include two-footing the landing, landing on the wrong foot, or stopping the set-up motion entirely.
All the Bad Habits Tho
Mentally freaking yourself out during hard jumps and spins in order to save yourself from perceived injury may end up hurting you in the long run.
If you don’t embrace the fact that you need to make these mistakes and fall a few times to progress in skating, you will regress. You will continue to land on the wrong foot, make the same not-helpful mistakes and allow yourself to give up. You need to trust where your arms, legs, and edges are going to go and stay committed to the jumps and spins, even if everything goes awry.
If you don’t, you’ll mentally and physically stunt your figure skating growth for a long time. Keep at figure skating and if you fall, so be it. Just don’t let the fear of falling stop you from your Olympic-level dream.
May 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
It’s taken a year since graduating college to secure part-time work and full-time jumps and spins on the ice. During the year when I was unemployed though, going on Facebook was overwhelming when friends were getting job or scholarship offers. Was I the only person in my graduating class without a job or an acceptance letter from a good law school? Was I the only person not landing a single axel, let alone triples? What would Brian Boitano do?
Those first few months leading up to graduation and the first six months after, friends certainly should announce good news regarding the start of their work careers.
Whether that means accepting a two-year Teach for America commitment in another part of the United States, a research assistant position at a leading trauma hospital or academic institution, a scholarship offer to a top law school in New Haven, or getting a job offer somewhere in downtown San Francisco, friends have earned the right to have their hard work acknowledged.
As a person who has worked before, I could relate to friends now that they are working or on their way to higher education. It was cool being surrounded by people with nothing but upside. I went through the motions of wishing congratulations, despite the fact that it underscored my abundance of insecurities and lack of a job.
I got jealous but I understood that the spotlight at the moment was for my friends, not me. On one hand, congratulations to all my friends. On the other, are they going to leave me behind?
I See Them Rolling, I’m Hating
A number of rejections from potential positions compound the frustration from not having a job. Combine that with my friends’ successes and I’m contemplating about this extended state of wtf-is-going-on I’m in.
Will I lose my friends because they’re accomplishing more than me? Will I be looked down upon because I cannot get on their level? Why is it that I cannot get on their level?
I also got around to questioning why I was still figure skating. I reached plateaus in what I’m learning and took lengthy breaks from the sport. Meanwhile, skaters I know pass tests with ease, make easy money through coaching, landing difficult jumps and other technical elements. Figure skating got less fun for awhile when I’m repeating figure skating first grade.
Coming to Terms With Failures, Etc.
Really though, it’s what I make of these failures that really turned it around for me. This mental change wasn’t for anyone else but myself.
While I do not have a job at the Habeas Corpus Resource Center, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, or McKenna Long & Aldridge, those experiences applying and talking with individuals at each office have allowed me to secure future interviews, especially the one I just completed with Berry Appleman & Leiden. I did not have instant success looking for jobs or getting the right LSAT score to stay in California, but the success is coming along now.
Rejection from jobs, relationships, and basketball (HIBBERT TURNED AWAY BY LEBRON, HAVE MERCY) sucks, and I let myself stew over it a few months too long before doing something about it. I elaborated on useful skills I have for potential jobs on my resume. I got confident talking about why I’m a great fit for potential jobs. I chose to work part-time in the meantime while looking for my start in the legal industry. I got serious about skating after jury duty and got back to the basics.
It was an extended exercise in persistence, talking out these emotions of jealousy, and eventually getting out of the post-college malaise I had been in. You know, as long as I didn’t rashly act upon that jealousy, my prospects are looking bright. That wasn’t the case going into early 2013, but I’m glad that I’m currently doing well for myself.
Also, why am I getting mad at teammates and skating club members who have skated for the majority of their lives? The skaters have practically come out of their mothers’ wombs and hit the ground skating. Those skaters have put in the time and hard work that the sport requires of them, and that earns my respect. I’m about to get that lutz and move on to trickier things in skating. That’s what Brian Boitano would do, right? I also enjoy covering intercollegiate skating here at Cal Berkeley.
Jealousy is just another emotion but don’t be mad that people around you are succeeding. Be happy for them, ask them for help when you need it, and open up so more people know when you succeed. Stay driven, work hard, and get a little lucky. Your success is written in the stars, a million miles away. Speaking of getting a little lucky, take it away, Pretty Rick A.
May 11, 2013 § Leave a comment
I wish longtime junior ladies’ Marissa Minovitz congratulations on graduating from Berkeley, and best wishes on her future aspirations. I wish Skating Club of San Francisco’s Kimberly Verzano congratulations on graduating from Lowell High (four years to go bonkers in Yonkers), as well as to fellow SCSF skater Magdalena Thornton, who leaves International High for Dartmouth. I wish junior skater Song King well in her health, her studies and her Greek professional and social commitments. I also wish synchro skater Annaleigh Yahata well with her studies and her Cal Dance Team commitment. Cal Figure Skating will continue on.
Dat Magic 8 Ball
You say it’s too early to be looking ahead at the Golden Bears and their future relevance in college skating, but it’s not. I’m purposely skipping ahead to the 2014-2015 intercollegiate season because it’s the first time since 2009 that the Golden Bears will be without Laney Diggs. You might want to start the excommunication procedures.
Cal Figure Skating 0 A.D. (After Diggs) will be led by seniors Sean Sunyoto, Teressa Vellrath, Samira Damavandi, Sravani Kondapavulur, Janelle Unger, Katrina Phan, and Michelle Hong, as well as juniors Gina DeNatale, Jay Yostanto, Matej Silecky, Amy Nguyen, and Kelsey Chan.
The team will add synchro skater Skating Club of San Francisco’s Annalise Mahoney and 2013 Pacific Coast Sectionals competitor Sara Billman for the 2013-14 season, giving these ladies some experience heading into the 2014-2015 season. The Golden Bears will definitely recruit from their backyard, adding more diamonds in the rough from figure skating clubs such as San Francisco, St. Moritz, Peninsula (San Jose), and All Year (Carson City).
By that point, the Golden Bears will match the Denver Pioneers and the three East Coast teams in terms of depth that every championship-caliber team needs. If the Golden Bears want to stay relevant in the intercollegiate figure skating landscape, they must use up most, if not all of their 35 allotted entries in all competitions. This is necessary in order to compete with the Blue Hens and the Moose of figure skating, but even more so when the team attempts to replace a phenomenal skater in Laney Diggs.
“Get off me,” She Said to Tracy Porter
The Golden Bears lose undergraduate Laney Diggs to graduation, barring any acceptance to any Berkeley graduate school programs. That’s just one skater, am I right?
In reality, you’re trying to replace a skater who has five US Championships appearances, carrying the Golden Bears team on her back though every single year she’s been at Berkeley. Whether it’s edges and three turns or nailing double axel combinations, Diggs is the clutch skater you want to ensure that you get to Intercollegiate Nationals every year. She finishes in the top 3 in every senior short program and free skate she has participated at the intercollegiate level. Her contributions at the dance events have added a layer of versatility to her game, while her gritty execution in the high team maneuver jumps never fails.
The boys have Diggs’ jumps covered in the high team maneuver, especially with other teams equipped to do triple lutz and axel combinations. But who else on the team can make up the points that Diggs earns in the senior short and championship free skate? What about the two dance events she can do?
A Laney-less Cal team seems unusual for Golden Bear skaters used to seeing Diggs put the team on her back. It’s made it simple for the team to make their minimum of two appearances at the regional competitions. It’s made it simple for the team to complain about the flight prices and hidden fees to get to the championship, instead of complaining about another year in which they didn’t make it at all. The 2014-15 season will be the time for Cal to show that it can stay relevant after Laney Diggs graduates.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the flagship University of California’s team. After the intercollegiate championships have been held in Hanover, NH and some city in the Midwest, the Championships come rightfully home to the Western Conference. Since Colorado hosted the last the the Championships were in the West, Katherine Specht and the USFSA committee of making things happen can flip a coin to choose between New Mexico and California next. The Golden Bears have a great chance to sleep in their own beds or at the very least, stay in their own time zone, giving them another advantage in trying to make the top 3.
If Jay Yostanto no longer is obligated to do his Junior Grand Prix assignments, he will team with Matej Silecky to form a powerful 1-2 combo in the junior men’s events. Sean Sunyoto resumes at the senior level, though he will no longer have a sibling rivalry in dance when Amanda graduates in 2014. Sravani, Michelle, Katrina, Teressa will continue to make up the core of the high team maneuvers along with Sara Billman, while Annalise, Janelle, Amy, and Samira holding the fort down at intermediate team maneuvers. Kelsey Chan will keep accompanying Teressa Vellrath at the gold and international solo level dances, while Samira accompanies Sean at the senior and junior dance levels.
The seniors and juniors listed above will have a figure skating season or three to know what it takes to get as many points as possible, whether that means skating up to the championship free skate at the junior or senior levels or passing the tests for different levels of dance. They will also successfully recruit new members of the team because as coaches and high level skaters, they are such prominent members of the skating community in Northern California. Regardless of any additions that the other championship-qualifying teams will make, I am optimistic that the team will take advantage of opportunities to make it to Nationals and finally make it to the podium.
The other thing? If Laney Diggs takes a fifth year or goes to graduate school here in Berkeley, you can turn that frown upside down and ignore everything I just said for at least another year.