I was gone from wednesday through sunday. It was a good, if exhausting, weekend. We took second place in the adult division. I have to admit: while second in the nation is not bad, it's not what we were hoping for. Even more frustrating, it wasn't what we'd half-expected. We skated an awesome program. We gave it everything we had. Our presentation was excellent, and our program was practically flawless. When I watched the first-place team, and they just didn't have the same speed that we did. They only had 18 skaters, while we had a full 20 (the most allowed -- and the more you have, the harder your program is). They had a fall -- in fact, I felt sorry for them when that happened. Nobody wants to lose due to an error, like what happened to us last year.
They were slower, and their program wasn't as difficult as ours. We had a clean skate, they didn't. We were all feeling pretty confident by the end of the competition...nervous, but confident. Of course, it all came down to what the judges preferred. That's the problem with figure skating: it's a very subjective sport -- plus, politics and personal preferences factor in as well. Our programs were very different, stylistically and technically. For some reason (and I still don't really understand what), the judges liked them better. At least, 7 of the 9 judges did.
Here is a photo of us doing our back-lunge pass. The skaters in both of those lines are going backwards, toward one anothers' blades. At the last moment, everyone lets go and the two lines splice through each other. This trick is very hard, and for some reason I've struggled with it all year. That's the trick where we had a fell last year at nationals. This year, we did it great! Perfect! It felt good to come back and prove we're capable of doing it right. We are the only adult team in the nation who even tries a double-back-lunge pass. The team that took first, they didn't even try it, wimps....instead they do an easier version where only one line goes backward and the other line goes forward.
(I am not in this picture, at least most of me isn't. I'm the person on the right side of the photo, in the line closest to the camera, mostly cut off (except if you look really carefully- you can see my hip and part of my leg), darn it.)
Anyway. So I'm disappointed with our placement. Several people came up to us afterward saying things like, "You were robbed." "You guys should have won." That made us feel somewhat better...at least the audience liked what we had to show them. And we really did give them everything we had. For that reason, I'm very proud of myself and my team. We had a faster, cleaner, better-presented skate than we've had all year. We were at our peak, we skated our program the best we were capable of. It was a great way to end the season, with a top-notch performance.
No matter what the judges thought, that's a wonderful accomplishment.