Are you sad that the Olympics are over?
Looking for a great family outing?
Many people on this board know that I’m the resident synchronized skating fanatic. Now I’m going to earn that title!
2010 U.S. Synchronized Skating Team Championships
March 3-6, 2010
All-event passes are $45. Single event passes are cheaper.
If you live anywhere near this location, I highly recommend this competition. I’m driving 300 miles to see it.
If you’ve never seen synchronized skating, here’s a link to a montage to “Don’t Stop Believin’” (from the TV show Glee). youtube.com/watch?v=dWTUeiJYMR4
I wouldn’t bring little ones (under age 7), as I think they’ll be bored sitting in a plastic chair (or a lap) for hours, and there are no skating Mickey Mouses, princesses, or pirates (although much of the music will be from movies featuring these characters!). Older children will enjoy this competition.
Do what I do–bring a cooler full of drinks, sandwiches, and veges, and some bags of fruit and crackers. It’s amazing how hungry you get sitting in a cold place watching competition. But the lines at the concessions in the arena are usually sooooo long (at least 1000 skaters will be there, along with their parents and fans like me), and you hate missing the skating just to get a plastic bowl of nachos and a water-downed soft drink! So bring your own food, and be prepared to eat it out in your car during the twenty-minute zamboni breaks. (You probably won’t be allowed to bring food into the arena, although it’s possible that they’ll bend the rules.)
Although there are practices all day on Wednesday, the actual competition starts Thursday. Opening Ceremonies are at 1:25, and they only last ten minutes. Then the **Juvenile Championships **are held at 1:45. This event features teams with skaters all under age 13. You and your children will be amazed at how good these teams are. Look out for the four-time-in-a-row champions, the Chicago Jazz, and Team del Sol (California). And cheer for St. Louis Synergy–this is the team that my daughter helps coach. Last year, they became the first team in Missouri history to earn a spot to Nationals, and they are proud that they earned the spot again.
The Intermediate Championship follows Juvies, at 3:32. Intermediates are the “catch-all” level, with skaters mainly under age 15, but 25% of the team can be up to age 18. Look for Team Image from Yonkers to win for the second year in a row. Inspiring story–this team has been around for 20 years, and never accomplished anything great until last year, when they won Nationals. But their coach was not there to see them win–she was at home under doctors orders, receiving treatment for breast cancer.
The Juniors (age 14-19) will skate their Short Programs at 6:15. Be prepared to sigh with wonder at Team Braemar from Minnesota–beautiful edges. Skyliners from New York will duel with Braemar for the Gold. But look out for Chicago Jazz.
On Friday, March 5, the competition starts at 3:07 with the Novices, under age 16. (There’s an age-overlap with Intermediates, but Novices are required to have passed a higher test level to compete at this level.) It’s anyone’s Gold Medal to win in this division.
Senior Short will start at 6:08 p.m. This is the highest level of synchronized skating, the only level where above-the-head lifts are allowed. These are the most advanced skaters, and their footwork passes and intersections are breathtaking.
This year, the Senior event at Nationals will be tense and thrilling because for the first time in ten years, Synchro World Championships will be held in the U.S., so all of our Senior teams are fighting for the opportunity to represent our country on home ice (in Colorado Springs). There are four top contenders: Haydenettes of Lexington, Massachusetts, Miami University’s Varsity team, Crystalettes of Dearborn, Michigan, and California Gold.
After the Senior Short comes the Junior Long.
Do you think adult skating is cute and harmless? Well, get over that idea!
The Masters teams compete on Saturday, March 6, at 12:22 P.M… All of the skaters on these teams are over 35, but you won’t see “cute.” They skate at a high level, doing many of the same dangerous and difficult elements that the younger teams do. Watch for Denver Synchronicity and La Furia.
The Adult Division follows at 2:27 p.m. Most, but not all, of the adults on these teams are younger. These teams skate at a high technical level; many of the skaters competed with elite teams while they were growing up, and so there is a lot of experience on the Adult teams. However, as adults they have all the pressures that adults face–jobs, family, money, aging bodies, etc. Look for Crystalettes from Dearborn, and Denver Synchronicity.
Then comes the “rowdy” event at 4:57–the Collegiate Division. Fans treat this event like they would any NCAA event–they wear school colors, wave pennants and flags, sing the college fight song, and cheer like wild animals. Often, the team mascots show up and encourage the cheering. And the skating is fantastic. Here are the colleges that earned the trip to Nationals this year:
U of Michigan
U of Illinois
U of Wisconsin
U of Delaware
U of New Hampshire
The competition ends with the premier event, the Senior Long Programs, at 7:57.
I hope that this summary will peak your interest and I hope you’ll decide to give it a try. Synchronized skating is a great sport that the whole family can enjoy–my 80-year-old father loves watching the teams. And I love the sport so much, I’ve written three novels about it–the newest novel just came out a few weeks ago. See my signature website to check them out.