We were scheduled to compete around noon, which was absolutely the perfect time. We had plenty of time to sleep in a bit, have some breakfast, make our hair and makeup absolutely perfect, and still get to the ice arena with plenty of time to have a good floor-practice (in the parking lot). Enough time to get ready without any rushing or stress, but not enough time to do a lot of waiting around and stressing.
On the bus to the rink, one girl attacked everyone with her eye shadow, to make sure our eyes were done right. Another person walked around double-checking everybody's blush. There would be nobody without a perfect face for this performance.
We all got into our dresses one final time, even our injured skater who hadn't been able to compete with us. I think this was the first time she put on her dress all year -- I was so glad to see her in uniform! I wore my dress without my tights for our outdoor floor practice. I thought it would be more comfortable in the sun, plus it enabled me to delay putting on my knee braces.
By the end of the skating season, I was wearing two elastic knee braces, one on top of the other, underneath my tights. The very-tight pressure and support made me feel safer and more confident while skating, but it was very uncomfortable to wear for long -- especially when sitting.
In the locker room, we went through all of our normal competition rituals. Everybody had to rub our "lucky #1 ball", we listened to our music a few times, we double and triple-checked our skates and uniforms. We held hands in a circle, listed to our coaches' last-minute pep talk, focused on our objectives, and some of us prayed (Mine was: "Please God let everybody stay on their feet. Let us skate the best program we're capable of. That's all I want, just that we all do our best."). We passed a squeeze around the circle, clapped, a few girls touched their butts to the locker-room floor (the theory being that if you fall there, you won't fall on the ice), and it was time to hit the ice.
Our program is fun, with peppy swing music. "If you don't sell it, they won't buy it," our coach always tells us. Also, "Go big or go home." You have to take the program off the ice and into the stands, so the audience can get involved and feel how great it is to skate. You have to keep your head high, smile, present, perform. Make the skating look easy.
Well Saturday we sold it. Our expression was huge! A spectator asked someday later, "Did somebody tell a really good joke right before you got on the ice? Because you guys were laughing and having fun the whole time!" I made eye contact with the judges whenever I could, grinning and even winking at one of the male judges once.
I had a great skate, personally. All of my "scary spots" went fine, and I only made one tiny error. In the above circle, I stepped forward 2 beats too early. I panicked briefly, but there was nothing I could do. So I just pretended to step forward again at the right part, and went on with the program. A girl across the circle saw me do it, and she saw me kind of laugh and kind of shrug a little. She said it made her laugh, and it helped her relax and not worry so much, so perhaps it was a good thing after all. I watched the video, and I couldn't even see the mistake.
(I'm in the front-left of that block.) By the time we hit our ending pose, I felt like I was skating on air. I was in the front, staring right at the judges, smiling triumphantly, projecting my thoughts to them, "Did you see that? Weren't we amazing?! You loved us!"
Then I remembered I was supposed to be watching for our extra skaters to come onto the ice, then yelling "drop!" so everybody would bow at the same time. I did that, then we were gliding our way off the ice. It wasn't a perfect performance (after all we were 20 imperfect human beings out there), but it was pretty damn awesome.
(You can see all the skating photos here.)