After nearly two years of limited practice and pandemic-canceled competitions, the Juneau Skate Club’s synchronized skating team will hit the road to compete once again.
Team Forget-Me-Not are headed to California in mid-November for the Synchro Fall Classic after some shake-ups to the roster and a few hard months of practice.
“Last year we had a team of 10 people. We had no competitions. We had no live performances,” said Coach Leah Farzin in a phone interview. “These skaters showed up every Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m and skated hard until 9 a.m.”
Now, after working with the city to find best practices, the team was able to resume full team practice, Farzin said, as members of the junior team were bumped up to the senior level.
“They’re mostly in high school. More than half of them were on our lower level team until this year,” Farzin said. “It’s the biggest shakeup of our lineup in a long time.”
The team is composed of kids who have gone through the basic skills skating class and the figure skating class, Farzin said.
“It’s something I’ve always looked forward to,” said Carly Phelps, one of the skaters, in a phone interview. “This is my third season with the team. I started taking learn to skate classes when I was 6. I just kept skating.”
Synchronized skating and figure skating, while related, can be different sorts of sports, Farzin said.
“Synchro as a discipline really rewards being good at skating fundamentals, not jumps and spins and crazy tricks,” Farzin said. “We work on skating fundamentals, posture, turns and steps, skating to the music, skating together.”
Working as a team is a huge part of synchronized skating, Farzin said.
“It’s a real trust exercise,” Farzin said. “You’re really relying on everybody being as committed to doing in the moment the same thing as everyone else.”
The personality portion of scoring, which has become an increasingly big part of the competition, is made somewhat more difficult by skating in masks, Farzin said.
“The hardest part to practice this year is the personality and presentation this year,” Farzin said. “We’ve decided we’re going to compete with the masks on this year, so we’re losing all their faces.”
The thrill of competition
The decision to enter into the California competition with a team of 14 was only made in the last few months, Farzin said.
“We buckled down and started working and they picked up a couple skills a lot faster than we expected, so we decided to go to this competition,” Farzin said.
Skaters are excited to get out there and compete as well.
“I’m super excited,” Phelps said. “I had a great time last time with this competition. I hope we can compete and do well.”
All they can do is swing, said Rebecca Maxwell, another member of the team.
“I like the way we’re all able to work together and build each other up,” Maxwell said. “We’ve been practicing for a couple of months now. We might not win but we’re going to do our best.”
For Farzin, the competition can bring the team together to highlight their hard work and potential. This will be a chance for Team Forget-Me-Not to go up against teams from across the country.
“There will be teams from all over at this competition coming up,” Farzin said. “I’m really proud of the skaters and impressed with their parents. I’m glad that everyone decided they wanted to do this enough that they decided to travel to compete again.”
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.