Joanna, Terri and me - looking forward to drowning the pre-bronze blues.
Every issue of Skating magazine features adult doing what we do best -- getting in the kid's way, living our Walter Mitty dreams, drinking at the rink. Lexi, the head of the adult skating committee, was clued into a pact that a handful of pre-bronze skaters made online and deemed us worthy of a future feature in the magazine.
Below is my contribution for the story.
I first met Joanna and Terri on one of the skating forum boards, a fan site that had a section devoted to those who also skated titled "Rinkside". It seemed to attract many of the adult skaters I know today. We had online discussions about how we were doing, and every year, someone would start a "new year's skating resolutions" thread, and we'd all post what we wanted to accomplish in the next year.
There were some fellow posters on the forums with similar goals, namely Joanna and Terri. As we shared our progress and challenges with each other, we dubbed ourselves the "Pre-Bronzers for Life." We vowed to each other that we would all one day make it to adult nationals, "shred our membership cards" and toast ourselves with champagne in celebration.
I was the first to make it, passing my tests in 2004. First thing I packed for AN05 in Kansas City was a bottle of champagne, and I popped it on the last day of competition. Who I shared it with tells that tale of what is so amazing about adult skating: I was the last place finisher in Bronze Ladies I, and I was toasted by Burton Powley, who had won Championship Men that night. Most of the toasts have been lost in the haze of 4am, but one I remember was "here's to the champions and the champions to come, the champions in the making." The rest of the crowd passing the bottle have remained dear friends to this day: Maureen Linhardt, Denise Hendershot, Robin Johnson, Chris Williams.
Well, Joanna passed her tests I think in 2006 (she'll have to confirm), but she was not able to compete at ANs until Lake Placid in 2008. I was not going to miss this!
As luck would have it, not only did Joanna and I compete in the same event, I skated just before her. So when I was done rocking Tina Turner, I ran back to the locker room and grabbed her bottle and managed to get to the entrance to present it to her on the ice just as she was finishing.
Terri then passed her tests, and luckily both Joanna and I were there to share her triumph with her in 2009.
I am proud of what I've accomplished in the sport thus far, and the triumph has been made sweeter by the fact I was able to shred my "Pre-bronze for life" membership card with these awesome ladies. Bottoms up!